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That was 2012: the year from the pages of MRW - part 2

A look back at the stories we covered in April, May and June

April

Threat of legal action by recyclers against councils opened April’s editions. The issue had intensified as the consultation deadline on controversial amendments to waste collection laws approached.

Then it emerged that the Green Investment Bank (GIB) would bail out flagging public-private partnership waste projects at the expense of riskier schemes. A senior GIB official told Parliament he was disappointed the bank would be used in this way.

The month finished with news that the police were developing a structured inspection programme for scrap metal dealers as the crackdown on metal theft intensified. The National Metal Theft Taskforce had been announced by chancellor George Osborne with £5m funding in November 2011.

May

May began with ministers and home office officials drafting laws to overhaul the regulation of the scrap metal trade. It was predicted that the new legislation could replace the Scrap Metal Dealers Act by the end of the year.

MRW exclusively reported that hazardous waste from old TVs was being sent abroad for uses that were banned in the UK. This was according to senior industry figures.

The next lead story concerned the London Waste and Recycling Board’s failure to hand out the bulk of its promised loans. The flagship waste funding agency had handed out just a quarter of the value of loans it had pledged to companies since it was launched.

May was completed by the news that councils had accused scrap dealers of metal theft. A senior local government figure accused metals recyclers of allowing the crime to grow, while an industry leader retorted that councils had failed to keep pace with the sector.

June

MRW started the month with an exclusive on private equity fund, Eternity Capital, planning to invest millions of pounds into a series of waste sector projects. It was reported to be seeking to invest stakes of between £10m and £15m in tandem with others, such as the GIB.

During an MRW interview, the then waste minister Lord Taylor labelled efforts to persuade councils to return to weekly bin rounds a “political imperative” and said some Conservative MPs were short sighted. Taylor used the interview to outline his thinking on a range of issues, including the keenly anticipated MRF code of practice and landfill bans.

It was then revealed that licence fees would be introduced for scrap metal dealers, who would also be subject to vetting by local councils before they could trade legally.

Richard Ottaway MP spoke exclusively to MRW ahead of unveiling his plans to overhaul the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (1964) in a Government-backed private members’ bill.

June’s final issue led with an exclusive on the GIB’s start-up team being poised to help a number of waste private finance initiative projects, as major schemes struggled to secure traditional lending. Wakefield Metropolitan District Council confirmed that discussions were ongoing between the funding club behind its £700m project and the GIB’s precursor organisation, UK Green Investments.

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