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Welsh councils to rethink waste strategy after cuts

Significant funding cuts to Welsh local authorities could lead to “alternative models” of managing waste and recycling, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has said.

The draft Government budget, announced on 8 October, will see local authority funding reduced by £175m in 2014/15, and by £65m in 2015/16.

The WLGA said this will leave councils with a £460m budget shortfall by the end 2016.

A spokesperson for the association said Sustainable Waste Management Grants (SWMG) - support that the Welsh Government provides to councils for waste activities - had also decreased in recent years and were expected to be cut further.

The total amount of SWMG funds declined from £73m in 2010/11 to £71m in 2012/13.

The WLGA spokesperson said: “In light of this, and the wider cuts being made to council budgets, alternative models for delivering local waste services are being considered and developed to ensure councils can meet the statutory recycling targets set by Welsh Government.” 

Wales’ Towards Zero Waste plan, launched in 2010, includes rising recycling targets with the aim to reach 70% recycling for all waste streams by 2025. Wales met the first statutory target of 52% in 2012/13.

The WLGA spokesperson added: “All councils in Wales are working together as part of a collaborative change programme, which looks closely at how they can continue to deliver a recycling rate for Wales, which is by far the highest in the UK, at a time when the financial resources available to them will be subject to such drastic cuts.

“In waste, as within all other local government service areas, there may be a need to reconsider national priorities on the basis of the new financial reality that local government is now operating within.”

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