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Proposed new powers for council waste partnerships

New powers allowing for all English and Welsh local authorities to work together to deliver more integrated and cost-effective waste services were announced by the Government today.

They are contained in an amendment to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, debated in Parliament today at the Bills second reading. The Bill is the first step in delivering the Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities, published in October 2006.

Speaking at the second debate of the Bill, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Ruth Kelly confirmed the Government was extending its proposals for partnership working in relation to waste services and said these will deliver real improvements and contribute to increased recycling, less landfill and lower carbon emissions.

Under the powers, two or more local authorities can apply to the Government to transfer their waste disposal, collection or street cleaning functions to a statutory Joint Waste Authority.

Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said: Joint working on waste is becoming ever more important, to help authorities to invest in new, more sustainable waste facilities at affordable cost. It is particularly important in shire areas to ensure waste collection and disposal activities are joined up. Authorities are already developing innovative ways of working with their neighbours to improve their waste services, and this amendment will increase the range of partnership working options available to them.

The Government said the move was made in response to demand from authorities, particularly those undertaking joint procurement activities, detailed in a report published by The Innovation Forum.

The Joint Waste Authorities will be created on a voluntary basis, with agreement from all the authorities concerned. Government estimates joint working to offer potential savings of £150 million in shire areas alone.


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