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News round up 19/12

Pickles funding announcement; Energy Bill in law; Germany green probe; May Gurney expands working hours; Somerset closure threat

Funding settlement unveiled

Councils’ total spending power will fall by 2.9% in 2014-15, ministers have announced.

A statement from local government minister Brandon Lewis (Con), published alongside the local government finance settlement, said with the exception of the Greater London Authority there would be a 2.9% reduction in total spending power.

This meant councils’ total spending power remained “considerable”, he said.

Energy Bill receives Royal approval

The Energy Bill has received approval from the Queen completing the Bill’s passage through Parliament and establishing it as an act of law.

Long awaited, the Energy Bill has been the centre of controversy amongst energy companies, environmental groups and businesses since its first Parliamentary reading in November 2012.

EU probes green charge exemptions for German industry

Germany’s multi-billion euro exemption of heavy industry from green energy charges will be investigated fully to see whether it is unfair, the European Commission said. The decision prompted warnings from German industry and the renewables sector that it would shatter investor confidence and cost jobs.

The commission is also considering the UK Government’s financial arrangements over the Hinkley Point power station in Somerset.

Third time lucky for waste recycling firm

An application by waste contractor May Gurney to increase working hours at a Bristol recycling facility has been granted – at the third time of asking.

The waste management operator was asking permission to process recyclable waste on bank holidays and “exceptional” Saturdays.

This allows May Gurney to tip glass within a sealed building, as well as the tipping of paper into external storage bays, and the operation of a sorting line.

Threat of closure for Somerset recycling centre

Residents in the Somerset village of Coleford have been asked for comments on the closure of a community recycling centre.

Five of Somerset’s busiest recycling centres, including Frome, could have extended opening throughout the week but two tips at Coleford and Middlezoy have been proposed for closure.

The plan, proposed by Somerset Waste Partnership’s governing board, is part of efforts to make savings by Somerset County Council.

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