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Wales to review council collections guidelines

Welsh natural resources minister Carl Sargeant has agreed to an independent examination of the ‘collections blueprint’ that promotes a single waste service configuration for local authorities.

The review will include an analysis of the latest data on rejection rates as well as looking at where recyclates end up from different collection methods.

It will be completed by the end of March 2016.

The call for a review was made in a series of recommendations outlined in an inquiry by the Welsh Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee (ESC).

In his response to the inquiry, Sargeant said: “We are already planning to review our policy and targets on waste as part of the normal cycle of producing and revising our waste strategy and waste prevention programme.

“It is timely to refresh the blueprint that was first published in 2010 and we already plan to update the blueprint in 2015, taking account of new developments in equipment, the results of pilots, changes in markets and the need for additional materials to be collected to meet the higher recycling targets.”

He added that some local authorities did not “share our belief” that universal adoption of the blueprint was the most sustainable option: “I am of the opinion that there are many positive benefits for local authorities if the blueprint approach is adopted.”

He also urged councils to continue with the blueprint while the review was underway.

The ESC inquiry into recycling practices and arrangements was set up in May last year. It looked at how well recycling lines up with the Welsh Government’s Municipal Waste Sector Plan Collections Blueprint.

Some councils, such as Cardiff, have struggled to achieve the tough recycling targets and could be fined by the Welsh Government for non-compliance.

The Welsh Government accepted all the recommendations in the ESC’s inquiry, including to:

  • Encourage collaboration between local authorities when renewing contracts for providing householder receptacles for recyclable waste.
  • Work with local authorities to make information on the destination of waste collected from householders publicly available.
  • Investigate weight-based targets and whether they are having any unintended impact on reducing the ecological footprint of waste, completed by the end of 2015.
  • Commission research into the relationship between projections for waste reduction; local authority income from waste; and the ability of local authorities to meet their recycling targets in the period to 2019/20 and then to 2024/25. To be completed by the end of March 2016.
  • Investigate the case for resourcing a national “broker” for the sale of recyclates from local authorities across Wales. Findings to be published by the end of December 2015.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Christopher Williams

    When we are looking at making changes to the way local authorities collect, we should bear in mind that many councils will have acquired new equipment and vehicles and it may not be that easy for them to change their vehicles again without incurring costs. This is not to say that we shouldn't make the changes if they are for the better and will help Wales reach its environmental targets.

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