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Waste campaign charity set to close

Pollution and waste lobby group Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) could be wound up next March due to dwindling income from cash-strapped councils, it has been revealed.

EPUK said that unless its members came forward at an extraordinary general meeting in early January with a commitment to continue work on a voluntary basis, the organisation would close down. It is possible the organisation’s Scottish branch could continue on its own.

Chief executive James Grugeon, who announced in September he would be leaving the organisation by the end of the year, said EPUK had faced an uphill struggle following widespread cuts in public sector funding. New interim chief executive Andy Wallace has been appointed to oversee the transition from January.

It is hoped the charity’s Healthy Air Campaign, in addition to a number of other ongoing projects, will be taken on by its commercial partners.

Chair of the board of trustees Paul Cooney said: “We did not underestimate the impact on our excellent staff team. However, we were left with no other viable options and it was felt that this plan represents the best possible chance of the organisation surviving into the future, which all of my fellow board of trustees members hope it will do.

“Clearly, though, in order to avoid EPUK’s closure, members or volunteers will need to come forward to commit to taking the organisation forward on a voluntary basis.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, EPUK honourary vice president, said the closure would be a “serious blow” to the green agenda.

The charity, which was originally set up more than a century ago as the Coal Smoke Abatement Society, lists scores of local authorities, waste companies and energy companies including E.On among its members.

Its campaigns mainly focus on land contamination, air pollution and noise pollution. Recent work includes the launch of draft guidance draft guidance for local authorities on combined heat and power and air quality drawn up in conjunction with Camden Council.

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