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Austerity drives councils' waste strategy integration

2000 kings lynn west norfolk bin collections

The Government’s austerity agenda is driving greater collaboration between collection and disposal authorities to save costs, according to a council waste manager.

Norfolk County Council has recruited consultancy Red Quadrant to create a cross-authority model to show the effect that different policy decisions can have on other authorities.

Project manager Joel Hull told the Waste to Energy City summit in London that officers from the county’s partner authorities consider the councils’ individual policies to avoid any negative knock-on effects on each other.

For example, the model can predict the extent of fly-tipping as a consequence of a policy change.

“If you are looking at this as a total system, a true partnership, you should be looking at what is the total system cost,” Hull said.

“You are getting to a place where you are starting to see a group of authorities that are looking at the whole system because austerity is driving there.”

The council might be particularly keen to keep track of its waste management costs after recently paying a £33.7m settlement on an abandoned energy-from-waste (EfW) project.

It signed an interim deal last year to continue sending 40,000 tonnes of waste each year to an EfW plant in Suffolk until 2020 after pulling out of the project planned for King’s Lynn the year before.

This was due to a delayed decision on planning permission for the King’s Lynn site by the then communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Hull said the remaining 160,000 tonnes it produces a year is now exported to the continent as refuse-derived fuel via FCC, Seneca and Frimstone.

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