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Councils ‘unaware’ of EA TEEP survey

A number of local authorities have said they had not been contacted by the Environment Agency (EA) about a key survey of whether household recycling collections are allowable under EU law.

The survey uncovered four authorities had not carried out an assessment on whether their commingled collection services was technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) under the Waste Framework Directive.

Thirty-eight authorities did not respond to the survey and many have not made their assessment public.

MRW contacted the majority of the 38 councils that were not involved in the survey, with 10 responding. Councils saying they had now completed the survey include Barking and Dagenham, Canterbury and West Lancashire.

Those that did not respond – either because they had not heard from the EA about the survey or an administrative error – include Lichfield, St Albans, Hertsmere and Poole.

Lichfield District Council, which has produced a publicly available TEEP assessment, said it did not receive an invitation from the EA to take part.

Hertsmere, which has a partially commingled collection, said it had not seen a request from the EA.

Ealing Council said: “We would always comply with requests from the EA and the communities department so this omission was obviously an oversight on our part.” The authority does not have a commingled collection service.

Maldon District Council said it did not take part because it was undergoing a change of collection service contractor at the time.

A spokesman said that a new service would launch in June, and that a TEEP assessment had determined it is compliant with EU legislation.

The council said it was “happy to share” the assessment but that it had not yet been finalised.

West Lancashire Borough Council said it had not carried out its TEEP assessment when the EA originally asked it to participate in the survey. The authority employs a commingled collection.

A spokesman said the assessment had now been carried out but he added: “We will not be making it available to outside bodies because it contains commercially sensitive information.”

Southwark Council was excluded, claiming the EA sent the survey to a member of staff who had left the organisation. It has made a TEEP assessment available on its website.

Torridge District Council took back recycling collections in-house after its contractor, South Molton Recycling, went into administration last year.

The authority had undertaken a TEEP assessment for the contractor, and another assessment is being planned on its current paper, plastic and metal commingled service.

An EA spokesman said: “This survey is just the start of a conversation with waste collectors about what more we can do to improve recycling and so reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, help the economy and improve the environment.”

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