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Scottish legislation offers consultation over waste management

Legislation to give communities more powers over their facilities and services could extend to the management of recycling, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has suggested.

The Community Empowerment Act gives communities a right to take over land in urban and rural areas, while local authorities and other public bodies will have a statutory duty to consider transferring land and buildings to their communities.

Community groups now have the chance to discuss potential service changes with health boards, police and local authorities, while ministers will have powers to involve people and communities in funding decisions

Iain Gulland Zero Waste Scotland

Writing in his blog, ZWS chief executive Iain Gulland (left) said: “While the main focus … is around ownership and transfer of assets and involvement in decisions, there is an opportunity to use this to encourage even greater involvement of communities in the resource and circular economy agenda.

“It might be a big step to consider communities taking on the management of recycling, but the Act includes provisions around participation rights – essentially giving interested representatives a right to be involved in designing services at the outset.

“Could we encourage community resource companies, in a similar vein to community energy companies, to help shape the use of resources locally for local benefit? Some resources may be best channelled nationally into a ‘grid’, while others could be best used to harness local opportunity and social inclusion.”

Speaking after the Parliamentary vote, community empowerment minister Marco Biagi said: “By giving people more powers to take over land, buildings and services, communities that may have been excluded in the past can identify the best ways to improve their area and take forward regeneration on their own terms.

“It will now be easier for buildings and land in both urban and rural areas that may have been underused to be transformed into community gardens and facilities.

“I look forward to hearing ideas from communities across Scotland on how they will use this bill to achieve plans they have to help the areas in which they live.”

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