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Local authorities urged to prepare in the midst of a policy vacuum

Councils about to enter collection contracts need to be aware of the regulatory impact of the Waste Framework Directive on quality of collections, according to an environmental consultancy.

From 1 January 2015, waste collectors must collect paper, glass, metal and plastic by separate collection in order to comply with the Directive. This is unless it is not technically, economically and environmentally practicable (TEEP) to do so.

Paul Levett

At a forum on TEEP, held by LRS Consultancy, chairman Paul Levett (pictured left) said: “Local authorities need to be aware of the impacts of TEEP, particularly those that are imminently procuring new services – they should engage the market and request that waste contractors quote for a range of options.”

The forum was held after an urgent industry-wide call for TEEP guidance in order to avoid the threat of legal challenges against non-complaint collections.

Dee Moloney (pictured below), managing director, LRS Consultancy, said: “There remains an air of uncertainty about whether guidance will or won’t be published by Defra, and how prescriptive that guidance might be.”

Local authorities were most concerned with the lack of guidance, according to LRS.

However, Moloney added that the forum agreed “service providers should follow robust, demonstrable steps to evidence that they are meeting TEEP”.

She also warned that those operating commercial and industrial collection services need to be aware of the changes, not just municipal collectors.

She said there was no “one size fits all” approach to the issue as demographics, housing type, street layout and waste stream material composition can all affect what qualifies as TEEP.

Levett  added: “With recycling rates stagnating, TEEP could be viewed positively as a catalyst to review long-term strategies and migrate to a paradigm, which will not only comply with TEEP, but will simultaneously address the capture of more materials and more value from these materials, by improving quality.”

  • In October, former resource minister Lord de Mauley wrote to councils to explain what will be expected of them on terms of separate and commingled collections. This caused some confusion in the sector.

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