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February 2007

New powers help local authorities work on waste

London— New powers to set up Joint Waste Authorities will help local authorities work together to achieve better-integrated and cost-effective waste services, Local Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw, announced.

Any group of two or more authorities will be able to apply to the Government to voluntarily transfer waste disposal, collection and/or street cleansing functions to a statutory Joint Waste Authority.

An announcement of the intention to introduce these powers by amendment to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill was made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly.

Welcoming this statement, Ben Bradshaw said, "The days of local authorities burying all our waste in landfill are gone. Joint working on waste is becoming ever more important, to help authorities to invest in new, more sustainable waste facilities at affordable cost. It is particularly important in shire areas to ensure waste collection and disposal activities are joined up. Authorities are already developing innovative ways of working with their neighbors to improve their waste services, and this amendment will increase the range of partnership working options available to them."

A report by a group of high-performing local authorities called for legislative changes to make joint working on waste easier, and estimated potential savings of £150 million in shire areas alone.

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