Managing waste sustainably: help is available for councils
London— Minister for Environment Elliot Morley has outlined a package of measures to help local authorities divert waste from landfill and encourage recycling without putting additional pressure on council tax.
The measures are designed to give local authorities greater flexibility in deciding how best to meet tough national and European waste management targets, while working with tight budgets and within a challenging efficiency agenda.
Individual local authority recycling targets for 2005/2006 will be held at 30%. This will reduce pressure on the highest performers without compromising achievement of the 25% national recycling target.
Over 100 authorities are set to benefit from this change, although some may still decide to pursue existing commitments to secure higher levels of recycling and they are encouraged to do so.
A reduction of £50 to the financial penalty for non-compliance with requirements to divert biodegradable waste from landfill under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme has also been confirmed, from £200/tonne to £150/tonne. This will help local authorities in planning their budgets.
In a separate announcement, a three-year targeted Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant of £260m (formerly known as the Waste Performance Reward Grant) will support new and more efficient ways to deliver waste reduction, increase recycling and diversion from landfill. The un-ringfenced Grant will enable local authorities to plan such activity with certainty over a three-year period. As launched in Defra’s Five Year Strategy, £5m of the 2005/2006 allocation will focus specifically on local authority incentives for households to recycle and reduce waste.
Elliot Morley said: “We need to cut the amount of waste we dump in the ground and increase recycling and re-use of materials. The role of local authorities in reducing waste and reducing landfill is vital. Government’s strategy is to help local authorities achieve a further step change in the way they manage waste. The package announced will give local authorities greater flexibility to tackle the challenges locally without compromising the Government’s commitment to increase recycling and divert more biodegradable municipal waste from landfill.”
While there are no specific requirements to invest the funding under the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant in a particular way, Government strongly encourages county-district and Joint Waste Disposal Authority areas to consider joint investment to meet common goals.