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Recycling champions required to inspire others in the front line, says minister

A search for early recycling scheme champions among local authorities (LA) has been touted by environment minister Joan Ruddock as she spoke about climate change. She expressed a need for inspiration as she described LAs as being on the front line in recycling and waste reduction at the Local Government Associations (LGA) Environmental Leadership conference last week. She said: "We are hoping to introduce new powers to enable you to incentivise households to recycle more and we will be looking for early champions for that scheme." Although Ruddock was unable to give any updates on the Corporate Spending Review, which will govern LAs waste budgets, she did say she wanted to drive forward more radical policy initiatives. She also called on LAs to set yourselves ambitious targets on climate change and gave examples of some doing just that. Birmingham City Councils Combined Heat and Power scheme was cited, as was Nottinghamshire County Councils scheme to use waste wood heat boilers in schools and other public buildings. Redcar and Cleveland have appointed a community waste liaison officer and recycling rates have increased by 20% in a year.While Preston Council has pioneered an inner city food waste collection scheme which has 90% participation in some areas. She said that such examples proved the point that LAs were well placed to provide community vision and leadership. Talking about the national Climate Change Bill, Ruddock said that Government, LAs and individuals will have to work together to achieve it. Most of the 100m tonnes of waste produced in England each year goes to landfill generating methane accounting for about 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Local government is on the front line when it comes to reducing biodegradable waste going to landfill. Once again we can see that leadership counts the top performing recycling authorities are collecting four to five times the amount of the poorest performing. If we can achieve the targets we set out in Waste Strategy 2007 we expect to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste management by at least 9.3m tonnes of CO2 per year compared to 2006. Image: Environment minister Joan Ruddock

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