Expressions of interest in the Governments Joint Waste Authoritieshave come from 30 councils, the majority of which are around the M4 corridor. Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the list does not include any councils from the north of England.
The list has been published alongside guidance on JWAs, which is a precursor to new regulations coming into force on 18 February. This will enable neighbouring local authorities to form JWA partnerships.
A local authority expert told MRW that councils may not have yet come forward because they cant be bothered with negative publicitythey would get.
It could be that some councils have decided not to opt for JWAs for the same reasons they didnt come forward for the pay-as-you-throw trials, he said.
He also said that councils had a lot on their plate already coping with moving recycled material in the current market.
One group of councils in south Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) have already been working as a waste partnership for a number of years. The partnership recently finished a public consultation on a proposed joint strategic waste development plan covering the management of waste from 2010 to 2026. A further consultation to decide sites for future waste facilities is planned for March. But no plans to form a JWA have been announced.
The expert said the lack of northern expressions of interest could be a reflection of the political persuasions of particular councils. But, he added: Theres nothing necessarily distinctive about the groupings, it could be explained by a number of different things.