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Somerset aims for big progress in 2007

This year should see Somerset make great strides towards its eventual aim of seeing waste run as a separate entity like the police or fire brigade.

After setting up the Somerset Waste Partnership in 1992, the six local authorities are moving closer and closer towards synchronising their operations.

The partner authorities are Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor, South Somerset, Mendip and West Somerset District Councils and Taunton Deane Borough Council who signed a memorandum pledging to work together to implement a household waste strategy.

Somerset County Council interim head of waste services Steve Palfrey said: We are working towards a Somerset Waste Board that will serve all six counties. Currently, each have different collection vehicles and depots and it would be easier if all were served by one board who could spend more time and specialise in the area of waste.

It would also improve decision-making. Currently there are six sets of decision-makers which leaves the potential for disconnect. Also, a single budget would benefit the customer as they could expect the same level of service throughout the region.

In a largely rural south west area which has some 500,000 residents and 228,000 households, Palfrey expects to see major progress during this financial year.

He added: Our long term intention is to set up a separate waste authority like the fire brigade or police which will pre-set waste collections.

The first step towards that aim is to set up a joint committee of the six local authorities with each council executive delegating decision making power to an administering authority. All six are currently going through committees and getting agreement for this.

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