County councillor response in Voice is a fiction

Cllr Reg Shore, the Lincolnshire County Council portfolio holder for Waste & Recycling, appears to have read a completely different document to me, based on his recent letter in the Spalding Voice.
The county council have not been doing any ‘working with’ as far as South Holland is concerned. What they have done, is tell us that they will no longer be paying recycling credits to the three Lincolnshire councils that have their own recycling contracts. As if that wasn’t enough, they have also told these councils, that the county is taking over the disposal of the recycling that these councils collect.
Just to add insult to injury, the county council has put in place something they are calling transfer payments. The double whammy for the three councils affected, is that these payment will be made to all seven councils, including the four that are not actually loosing any recycling credits, or contract revenue.
Cllr Shore has kindly informed readers that I was wrong about the county council grabbing the £10 a ton South Holland currently receives. At the time of writing my previous blog entry on this issue, I was not privy to the details of the contract the county council had negotiated. Imagine my surprise, when I read a briefing note stating that Lincolnshire County Council had secured a contract that gives them NO REVENUE! Ironically, Cllr Shore emphasises this point in his letter, as though it is somehow to his and the county council’s credit – extraordinary!!
Just to be clear; Lincolnshire County Council will stop paying South Holland DC and two other councils, North and South Kesteven, £42 a ton in recycling credits from 2016. Also, with immediate effect, SHDC will be loosing the £10 a ton paid by the materials contractor and that helped to support our recycling collections.
The financial impact for South Holland will be:
– £377,830 after three years
– £895,570 after five years
Cllr Shore’s claim that every council will gain financially and that this should be viewed as ‘a real opportunity’, is technically correct, but only if you ignore completely the last 20+ years of recycling credit payments received from LCC and the last 3 years of revenue, received for our recycling, from our various contracts.
The proposal now, is that we all pretend that the last 20+ years of recycling never happened, that there were no recycling credits and that we were never able to sell our recycling. We also have to ‘pretend’ that we haven’t managed to achieve a recycling rate of 30%. This is because the county council has offered to make incentive payments for any increase in recycling rates, from this point forward. They have also offered to share some of the revenue they receive from the contractor – a contract that currently provides no revenue – how generous is that!
Had the county council been more upfront and open about these proposals and agreed to discuss openly all of the financial issues, there would have been no need for this hostility. Unfortunately, the only image in Cllr Shore’s ‘big picture’ is the one showing the county council, with every other council in Lincolnshire conveniently cropped out.

As a footnote, the government has just announced the financial settlement
For the forthcoming financial year. South Holland will be loosing a further 6.2% of its funding, equivalent to £0.755m.

Recycling rates under threat

Although we in South Holland are currently enjoying some success in our campaign to increase recycling, the article below highlights the challenges yet to come.
Just some of the emerging issues for us, will be the end of the external funding pot we succeeded in gaining a couple of years ago. Added to this, Lincolnshire County Council, in their wisdom and for no other reason than to save money for themselves and grab the available materials revenue, are in the process of taking control of our recycling. We will have to continue to collect the recycling, but the council will not receive any recycling credits from the county council, with the county also receiving the £10 a ton we currently get.
As is usual with everything the county council does, it hadn’t thought through the details and have now had to come up with an incentive scheme for those districts they have ‘stolen’ recycling collections from. Without such a scheme, why would we bother to continue to put any effort into increasing our recycling collection rate?
Further pressure is also being applied by the recycling industry, under the cloak of an environmental pressure group. Supposedly committed to ‘saving the planet’ by increasing recycling rates, the group is actually funded by the recycling industry, so have more of a financial imperative than an environmental one. I believe that, despite loosing a high court case, they are still trying to ‘force’ councils into collecting recycling in separate streams, as opposed to a single container, as we do in South Holland.

Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
Recycling could fall for first time this century
8 December, 2014 | By Corin Williams

Local authority budget cuts and new recycling standards could lead to a reduction in England’s recycling rates for the first time this century.

With a tiny 0.05 percentage point increase in English local authority household recycling between 2012 and 2013, to 44.16%, it is now considered highly unlikely that the UK will meet the target set by the EU that 50% of waste will be recycled by 2020.

The Chartered Institution for Wastes Management (CIWM) said there was a “real risk” that recycling rates would decline over the next 12 months.

Chief executive Steve Lee said: “We have seen a lot of welcome emphasis recently on recycling quality. Now the government must put quantity back at the top of the priority list.”

A new code of practice aims to boost the quality of waste materials sent for recycling. One consequence of this could be that waste management companies increase the quality threshold for material they receive from local authorities – thereby reducing the recycling rate.

Steve Rymill, a waste management consultant at the environment and energy firm Ricardo-AEA, told LGC’s sister title Materials Recycling World that councils’ environmental and regulatory service budgets had fallen by 16% between 2010-11 and 2013-14.

“Authorities have been evaluating what their statutory service requirements are and this has meant that a number of areas, such as communications and food waste collections, have been subject to significant cuts,” he said.

The budget just isn’t there to fund the much-needed communications campaigns required to further improve recycling performance.

“The authorities that have seen big increases in their recycling rate are where they have generally coincided with a service change – something which requires positive communications messages to residents.”

Mr Rymil said it was a particular concern that some councils had actually seen a decline in rates, which was partly blamed on street sweeping being reclassified and garden waste services being retracted.

“We’d expect this to continue next year, as more authorities are considering paring back their service, where permissible.”

Phil Conran, director at consultancy 360 environmental, told MRW some councils with high rates were seeing a significant proportion rejected with contractors complaining the material was not good enough to recycle.

High recycling rates achieved at the expense of quality are generally not sustainable,” he said.

“Some [recycling plants] might prevent local authorities from delivering [mixed]materials with glass in it, because of quality issues and because of the potential impact of the code of practice. If they revert to bottle banks to collect glass rather than as part of the mix, that would potentially depress recycling rates.

“I think there is every possibility that the rates will decline.”

Mr Conran added that many questions remained over why some English councils achieved high rates when others floundered. “The UK clearly can achieve [the EU target of] 50%. It’s just a matter of bringing everyone up to best practice,” he said.

Meanwhile, the latest statistics on waste and recycling in Wales indicate the country is on track to meet its 2015-16 statutory target, the Welsh environment ministry has said, with one council recycling more than 70% of its waste.

Between April and June, Welsh local authorities recycled, reused or composted 58% of municipal waste, an all-time high.

This is in line with a 58% target for 2015-16.

“Wales is the only UK nation to set statutory recycling targets and we are leading the way in the UK,” said natural resources minister Carl Sargeant. “Welsh local authorities are already meeting the European target of recycling a minimum of 50% by 2020.”

Most Welsh councils reported a quarter-on-quarter increase in the period and recycled over half of the waste they collected, except for Rhondda Cynon Taf, which slipped six percentage points to 47%.

The best performer was Denbighshire, which topped the table with a municipal waste reuse, recycling and composting rate of 71%, followed by Pembrokeshire at 69%, Monmouthshire at 66% and Bridgend at 64%.

Our way of recycling should be safe – for now

Copied from Local Government Chronicle
Be aware of new recycling regulations
11 March, 2014 | By Andrew Bird

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs recently published the long-awaited materials recovery facility regulations and a summary of responses from last year’s consultation.

The regulations aim to drive up the quality of both materials entering such facilities and the output of materials sold on for reprocessing.

A mandatory code of practice will come into effect this autumn, requiring all facilities processing more than 1,000 tonnes of material to sample and report on inputs and the various materials streams resulting from sorting and separation.

While I think the regulations could have gone further, I welcome their introduction.

They will serve to increase confidence in the purchasing of materials from MRFs by reprocessors, supporting the move towards a more circular economy.

The regulations will be enforced by the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales through one pre-arranged inspection and one unannounced inspection each year.

So what will the code mean for councils?

It should enable them and waste companies to demonstrate greater transparency and provide mechanisms which help reassure residents that the efforts they put into recycling result in high-quality materials.

It will also help reassure that the commingling of recycling collections can deliver high-quality materials, and help to provide a more robust monitoring framework to assess whether commingled collections meet the requirements of the revised Waste Framework Directive, or TEEP.

So what is TEEP?

In essence it refers to it being technically, environmentally and economically practicable to collect each material separately.

Technically practicable means that separate collection may be implemented through systems developed and proven to function in practice.

Environmentally practicable means the added value of ecological benefits justifies possible negative environmental effects of separate collection.

Economically practicable refers to separate collections that do not cause excessive costs in comparison with the treatment of a non-separated waste stream, taking into account the added value of recovery and recycling and the principle of proportionality.

If you are not currently aware of the implications of the revised Waste Framework directive and its implications for your authority, you need to consider them urgently, and particularly if you are considering changes to the way you collect materials for recycling.

Here are the articles pertinent to Waste Collection Authorities:

Article 4 – Waste hierarchy

Article 10 – Recovery. Paragraph 2 – first mention of waste needing to be collected separately to facilitate or improve recovery if it is TEEP.

Article 11 – Re-use and recycling – about promoting re-use of products and high-quality recycling

Article 13 – Protection of human health and the environment

Article 15 – Responsibility for waste management

If you are unaware of the implications of the revised directive and its implications for your authority, you need to consider them urgently, particularly if you are changing the way you collect materials for recycling.

These requirements come into force in 2015, so decisions taken now and in the future need to be robust.

Andrew Bird, chair, Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee

Another hidden tax on the council taxpayer is set to increase

Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
LGA calls on chancellor to freeze landfill tax
7 March, 2014 | By Chris Smith

The chancellor has been urged to freeze the landfill tax as part of this month’s budget by council leaders.

Ahead of George Osbourne’s keynote speech on 19 March, the LGA claimed landfill tax had achieved its purpose and warned any increase would punish hard-pressed families.

Mr Osborne was urged to keep landfill tax at its present rate of £72 per tonne and to redistribute revenue to local taxpayers.

The tax, paid by businesses, is set to increase to £80 per tonne in April and the money raised goes into central government funding.

The LGA warned the costs would be passed by on to residents and claimed each household would pay £30 towards landfill tax in 2014-15.

Mike Jones (Con), chair of the LGA’s environment and housing board, said: “Instead of using the receipts from the tax to boost recycling technologies and reward residents for the gains made in recycling levels, the Treasury has held on to receipts. We need a clear indication from the chancellor that this tax will be frozen at its present rate, with the money raised from it returned to taxpayers and invested in growth.”

Mixed recycling case dismissed by judge

Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
6 March, 2013 | By Neil Roberts

A judge has dismissed the claim brought by members of the Campaign for Real Recycling that sought restrictions on commingled collections, according to the Environmental Services Association.

The claimants had argued Defra and the Welsh Government had not properly transposed the European revised Waste Directive Framework in the Waste Regulations (England and Wales), in particular rules on when commingled collections are allowed.

They argued commingled collections do not produce high quality recyclate while waste firms Biffa and Veolia released statements warned that a victory would force councils to switch to sorting recycling on the kerbside wasting taxpayers money and damaging recycling rates.

ESA said the judge, Mr Justice Hickinbottom, found the governments had properly interpreted European law and that the obligation to set up separate collection of paper, metal, plastic and glass from 2015 applies only where it is necessary to ensure waste undergoes recovery operations and to facilitate and improve recovery and is also technically, environmentally and economically practicable.

ESA’s director general, Barry Dennis told LGC’s sister publication Materials Recycling World: “The ESA has always believed that both the directive and the revised Defra regulations recognise that decisions over local collection methods are complex and that local discretion over the format of recycling collections is needed to ensure that the Directive’s objectives are met. We are therefore pleased that the judge, having examined the matter in great depth, has taken the same view.

“ESA members can now get on with the challenge of working with their local authority customers to select the most appropriate collection system locally. This is vital if we are to continue to make significant increases in recycling rates, so that as much of our waste as possible is returned to productive use.”

The legal action did force the governments to revise the regulations last year to require separate collections only where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and necessary to meet the required standards of reprocessors.

But the CRR rejected that revision as an inadequate transposition of the EU law which demands: “measures to promote high quality recycling” and “separate collections of waste where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.”

The judge also dismised an application by the claimants to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Pickles pushed to announce weekly bin collection support

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21 November 2012
Thomas Bridge

Delayed announcement of successful bids for the weekly waste collection support scheme are adversely impacting on council budgets, industry experts have warned.

In an open letter to secretary of state for communities and local government, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been urged to announce successful town hall submissions for the weekly collection support scheme (WCSS) at the earliest possible opportunity.

Chief executives from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) and Resource Association (RA), and the director general of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), have argued that postponement of WCSS allocation has led to a hiatus in decision-making and procurement across council waste services.

Equipment and vehicles manufacturers are also reducing capacity and employment as a result of stalled procurement and will be unable to immediately meet future demand, the letter asserts.
‘This is already a green growth sector and, with appropriate government leadership and co-ordination, it is capable of delivering much more in terms of jobs, value, skills and general economic development. We would urge DCLG to acknowledge this contribution and to prioritise the WCSS announcement so that the service improvements that it was designed to support can be put in place,’ the letter states.

your comments

With Eric Pickles there is always an ‘elephant’ in the room – now there are two.
Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage,
Added: Wednesday, 21 November 2012 03:13 PM

All in the eye of the beholder

I didn’t think I would come across anybody as obsessed as me when it comes to litter and the general state of our district, but a recent email has proven me wrong!  The three group of photos below were sent to one of our officers in support of a complaint.  As you will see, they are of a very rural landscape blighted, albeit very mildly, by litter.  Following on from these photos are a set of pictures I took recently, of what the people of Spalding are having to put up with.  The message here?  If you think what you are suffering is bad madam, just get a load of these!

That’s not to say that this lady isn’t absolutely right to be angry at the disgusting behaviour that leads to this mess – she is.  However, she goes on to berate the district council for not carrying out regular litter picks and street cleaning, complaining that she pays a lot more council tax here than when she lived down south.  That may be the case overall, but I doubt that she got her refuse and recycling collected weekly, along with the street cleaning and litter picking we are able to do, for just over £1 a week.  If the people of South Holland wanted a better standard of street cleaning, they would complaining to their district councillors on a regular basis wouldn’t they?  They would also be telling us that if we wanted their votes at the next elections, we would be doing something about these issues.  Unfortunately, from my point of view, they aren’t.  

The lady in question is also unhappy with the weekly collections as we use bags and not wheelie bins.  Unfortunately, this is where we have to part company, as I consider wheelie bins to be nearly as much of a blight of our roads and streets as littering and fly tipping is. 

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