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1st Draft - June 1999
ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES
23 July 1999
THE FUTURE FOR PROJECT INTEGRA
Report by the County Surveyor
1. This draft report has been agreed by the Project Integra
Officers' Group representing all Hampshire authorities including Portsmouth and
Southampton, plus the contractor Hampshire Waste Services. It's text will be
finalised for wider public consultation by the end of August.
2. It is presented to this meeting to enable discussion of the concepts and to seek approval to create a debate about the future for waste generally, not just domestic waste. The Project Integra partnership is seen as an ideal foundation from which to engage a wider partnership of sectors with the aim of creating more sustainable local systems for resource use and processing of recyclable material.
3. Funding is available to progress to stage one of the proposals - ie. a scoping report. Future funding for implementation is likely from a variety of resources.
County Surveyor's Department
First Draft - June 1999
THE FUTURE FOR PROJECT INTEGRA
Report by the Project Integra Partnership
1.1 Project Integra (PI) exists as an entity because of a major waste contract. It is defined as a partnership of thirteen local authorities and a private sector contractor, Hampshire Waste Service (HWS). It is not a formal partnership in legal terms but a voluntary one glued together by a memorandum of agreement, a project management structure, and a great deal of commitment from members and officers.
1.2 It is likely that its success is due to its common and collective aims, tangible achievements and all party support. The partnership agrees an annual plan which sets out tasks and responsibilities for all parties.
1.3 During the last four years PI has been subject to a great deal of local, national and international media and professional coverage. In the UK it was one of the leading edge projects.
1.4 Constitutionally PI does not exist. It does not have a legal entity. No one person or authority can commit for others. This has begun to give rise to some lost opportunities especially in the complex world of recycling and markets. There are seven issues however, which will have an impact on the current work and organisation of Integra.
2. Collection Systems
2.1 Our existing collection systems have ended for a variety of reasons, including cost, conservation and other considerations. It has become apparent due to the data now available that different types of collection systems produce significantly different outputs and behaviours. It is also becoming clear that the way in which materials are collected can have a major impact on the opportunity for maximising downstream recovery. When this year's PI research programme produces results in the autumn there will be some tangible evidence to create a review of systems to increase recycling and recovery by the most appropriate collection type, and which also gains the best public involvement and recycling rate.
2.2 But each local authority may well be locked into collection contracts which are for three to five years, and changes will require capital injections to pay for new collection means and vehicles.
2.3 Waste Collection Authorities (WCAs) cannot afford such changes and may feel that to seek to better conveniently projected recycling rates is not worth the investment against other priorities and budget pressures. There is currently no incentive for WCAs to put more investment into recycling. There are pressures on Waste Disposal Authorities (WDAs) due to increases in landfill tax, waste volumes and EU legislation to implement more infrastructure but this can only be done in conjunction with WCAs who are the principle interface with householders.
2.4 There is thus a need to find another substantial incentive for WCAs and WDAs to move to the next stage of progress. It might be that a new climate needs to be created where the goals of PI are related to their contribution to sustainable development.
1 Project Integra is a partnership developed from PI Workshop on 13 April 1999
3. Volume Increases
3.1 Waste volumes continue to increase and the cost of this is paid for by the WDAs but has no direct impact on WCAs. Approaches to stabilise or even reduce the amount of waste are unlikely to have a real impact due to the projected per capita rise as a result of lifestyle and product choices as well as planned population growth. The Project Integra contract allows for a new infrastructure to deal with growth up to a certain capability. Emerging trends are showing that in the long term the currently planned infrastructure may not be capable of meeting need, given the existing and impending restrictions on landfill, eg the EC Landfill Directive.
4.1 Markets for recyclable material are volatile. Under the waste contract Hampshire Waste Services (HWS) have the responsibility to market recyclables and income (or loss) is shared 50/50 with the WDAs. Hampshire County Council (HCC) has agreed to pass its share onto the WCAs, provided certain criteria are met. Some authorities in Hampshire prefer to take the risk and have a more direct relationship between collecting materials and the resultant market price. Others see themselves as investing in a collection system for the greater good of recovery of materials to avoid costly disposal and prefer a stable situation where they do not share in the risk of volatile prices.
4.2 Local authorities are a key part of a system that is interlinked with commercial recycling and EU requirements. Whilst there are measures to increase recycling such as landfill tax and producer recycling notes, no direct funds are available to Local Authorities (LAs) and with market prices low or even a cost to LAs for processing, there is little real incentive to increase recycling beyond existing levels.
4.3 Thus, seeking to extend PI's figure towards 40% becomes difficult. Failure means that:
(i) Planned MRF capacity will not be fully utilised;
(ii) unit costs for processing increase; and
(iii) more material will go to landfill.
5. Legal Structure of Project Integra
5.1 Opportunities do exist for producers and others to invest in new recycling infrastructure and PI officers have made good contacts in paving the way for investment in processing in the County. However, private sector organisations wish to move quickly once plans have been discussed and need to contract with an entity having legal responsibility. No PI partner can move independently and Hampshire's waste is now part of a contractual obligation that involves three parties having an impact on its process - WCA, WDAs and HWS.
5.2 As the UK increases its recycling there will be further pressure on the markets and processing capacity. PI has the maturity and knowledge to secure long term capacity but has a constitutional impediment that prevents being able to take advantage of such opportunities
6.1 Project Integra relies on a new infrastructure being in place by circa 2004. There is a good chance that this will occur but there is a volatility about the next six to nine months as decisions on additional composting capacity, replacement HWRCs, a new MRF, the last transfer station and three Energy Recovery Incinerators (ERI) projects are determined.
6.2 The MRF capacity will more than meet planned projections in WCA recycling programmes, especially as achievements are being rounded down as WCAs gain more experience in forecasting. Getting the capacity into balance is important to ensure optimum unit costs as well as the necessary service options.
6.3 The current infrastructure is totally geared to municipal waste and to volume projections established circa 1995. As the private sector is being encouraged by the Government under its 'Doing your Bit' campaign to recover more resources, as well as being influenced by the Environment Agency and local environmental organisations like the Southampton Environment Centre (SEC), this could lead to the need for a greater number of waste processing facilities in the County. Opportunities should be explained via the PI partnership with HWS to see if services could be offered to the private sector.
7.1 Costs of domestic waste processing by 2005 could be 1000% greater than they were in 1989. This is due to:
(i) lack of cheaper local landfill sites;
(ii) higher environmental standards;
(iv) new infrastructure; and
(v) landfill tax.
7.2 Whilst these costs have been predicted for some time those associated with volume increases have not. Increased costs have all been associated with a domestic infrastructure. This infrastructure is subject to the pressures already highlighted and should it need to be expanded to cater for additional domestic volumes then the cost will rise substantially again as additional facilities would be required.
8. External Impacts
8.1 In addition to the local pressures there are some very important external factors which will affect considerations about waste management.
8.2 The impending major influence will be the issue of a draft National Waste Strategy, (see Appendix 2) part of the UK Government's Sustainable Development initiative which also includes energy and transport. This strategy will encourage local action and implementation to meet wide environmental objectives eg energy saving/recovery, greenhouse gas reduction as well as more conventional waste management goals such as reduction of landfill.
8.3 This strategy will also encompass EU legislation on landfill,
incineration, the waste framework, producer responsibility and environmental
8.4 At the same time as the draft National Waste Strategy was issued an accompanying report of the Market Development Group was produced. Its remit was to look at barriers to expanding markets for recycled good and key conclusions indicate the need for 'a new, more radical approach ........'. The approach should set out to identify and develop a broad range of new, more diverse, and higher value uses for recyclate in sectors outside those that produced the material.
In essence, this is exactly what is recommended in this report.
For local government the agenda is being shaped by consideration of a modernised approach to local authority leadership, a Best Value approach to consideration of service provision, and the need to produce Local Agenda 21 strategies which will include waste management as an issue in its broadest sense.
9. Other Local Impacts
9.1 Locally, there are three reasons for considering the role of Project Integra:
(i) the Waste Local Plan;
(ii) the Waste Strategy; and
(iii) the role of external agencies, eg Regional Development Agency (RDA), Environment Agency (EA) and Government Office for the South East (GOSE).
9.2 The Waste Local Plan is part of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan which, although having just been adopted by the County Council, is only valid until 2001.
9.3 The domestic waste strategy also has a 2001 expiry date. Both need to be updated and will need to be done formally in conjunction with the two unitary authorities of Southampton and Portsmouth, but the Integra partnership would now expect them to be carried out in the continuation of the Project Integra collective partnership.
9.4 The local plan covers all waste. Since the last plan was produced the EA has now collated data on all wastes and has a responsibility for advice on regional planning. So too does the new RDA who will be interested in the investment and economic development aspects of any new plan.
9.5 It is unlikely that the way forward will be anything like the immediate past as there are now a larger number of organisations who wish to have a real say in such an issue and they will wish to do so in the context of sustainable development. This 'joined up thinking' concept inevitably produces new opportunities for local government and Integra is ideally suited to be the foundation of a new direction.
10.1 If PI remained as now, with expected incremental change it would deal safely with Hampshire's domestic waste for 25 years. It could survive on its legacy of consultation and by utilising its flexible contract.
10.2 A great deal could be done to promote more recycling and waste minimisation within the existing law and by using the contract effectively. Issues such as markets, the external environment, and other legislation could have an impact which would make it difficult for Integra to capitalise on opportunity by sharing risks and entering into legal agreements with others for the long term supply of recycled materials.
10.3 Some recyclables markets, eg mixed paper, are dependent on spot prices without the security of long term agreements. The future market for materials will be more competitive and quicker. Those entering into contracts sooner will ensure material is recycled and at a price. As more recycling takes place the market place will change.
10.4 Nevertheless, as Integra moves towards a resource management system, inevitably local authorities will need to look at the opportunity to stimulate local industry in using recovered materials as replacements for virgin stock, to reduce waste transport, to plan for integration of use of facilities and the possibility of increased cost avoidance or reduction of unit costs.
10.5 These opportunities cannot be achieved with the remit of Integra but Integra could be used as the launch pad of a countywide debate with the aim of creating an area based resource initiative that met other local authority objectives than dealing with waste.
10.6 Because of the issues raised above the Project Integra network has concluded that whilst there is much to commend its achievements so far there is no option to stand still. Existing arrangements are too loose and uncertain to take the opportunities available in the future. The risk of staying as a coalition is greater in the mid term than exploring the concerns to gain greater social, economic and environmental advantage by working more formally in a public/private sector partnership. However, in the longer term it is inevitable that waste will be seen as an integrated part of a sustainable development agenda and wider external influences will affect the Integra foundation. In Hampshire Integra can, in fact, be used as a major tool for sustainable development.
10.7 In the planning for the longer term a strategy needs to be developed that positions the issues to be dealt with around domestic waste alongside a wider network of inter-related issues associated with sustainable development.
11.1 It is important for the Project Integra partners to keep their eyes on the immediate ball - ie putting in place an infrastructure to process domestic waste and to continue with a public involvement programme to increase the commitment to waste minimisation and recycling.
11.2 The Project Integra partners consider that the existing network should continue to develop to meet these requirements. Specifically, PI needs to evolve in accordance with the following principles:
(i) developing a Phase 2 Project Integra Strategy, based on the concept of moving from waste management to resource management and economic development within sustainable parameters;
(ii) maximising opportunities for external funding for the implementation of Phase 2; and
(iii) reviewing the Project Integra structure in the light of the above, to achieve an appropriate structure for the long term development of Project Integra.
11.3 Integra via HWS is finding that the lack of a legal entity is emerging as an issue, although it is considered that for the time being with existing officers and members the partnership is robust and can conclude deals relatively quickly. This situation needs to be kept under review in the light of both local achievement as well as national circumstances, especially as a result of any developments in producer responsibility legislation.
11.4 However, for the future, a new network of organisations needs to be established to broaden the debate and to be formally responsible for developing policies and strategies for a future integrated resource recovery and economic development programme, which eventually may lead to new strategic planning policies for waste and this becomes the precursor to the waste section of the next Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
11.5 A diagrammatic model of the way forward is given in the attached appendix.
12.1 It is recommended that for the remainder of 1999 Hampshire local authorities promote the need for and establish an embryonic multi-sector discussion network. Representatives of Project Integra should be nominated at both member and officer level.
12.2 Potentially a network could include:
Local Authority - Project Integra )
Roles - Planners ) LGA nominees
- Economic Development )
- LA21 )
- Procurement )
Agencies - Environment Agency
- Council for Social Responsibility
Government - DETR
Observers - DTI
NGOs - SEC
Industry - Trade Association
- Business Link
- VALPAK or
- SME's representative
- Environmental Consultants
- Financial Organisations
plus other groups as identified during this set up process.
12.3 The large group may well need to establish working or action groups to research and implement action. Objectives of the group will ultimately be refined by the process of consultation but in outline they will be:
(i) To develop an integrated and sustainable resource and waste strategy by the end of 2001 which is inter-related with the local land use plan.
(ii) To incorporate the principles of partnership working, and best value for services materials.
(iii) To establish local/regional markets for recovered materials.
(iv) To create a culture of personal and social responsibility in respect of the use of materials at work and in the home.
(v) To divert (say 100,000 tonnes) of waste from landfill in 2001 and to set further targets for successive years with the overall strategy.
12.4 The group will need to be serviced and resourced. A secretariat will be required to maintain meeting schedules, produce action notes etc as well as communicating with group members and others. Specific consultancy help will also be needed from environmental consultants who have a track record in achievement.
12.5 The cost of the secretariat and consultancy help could be quite modest eg circa £50,000 in year one, £100,000 in years two/three. Other funds for pump priming projects should be available from a variety of other sources including, for example, the landfill tax credit.
12.6 This is a proposal both for immediate action and long term change. What it will do for Hampshire will be to communicate directly with key decision makers and professionals who are influential in their own sectors but to involve them in making decisions which integrate current societal systems into one which is more sustainable and contributes to the Government's sustainable development targets.
12.7 A successful initiative will over time give added value to initiative like Integra's War on Waste by making personal and corporate actions more relevant to people to improve everyone's overall quality of life.
It is recommended that:
(i) the overall direction for Project Integra as proposed in paragraph 11.2 above be endorsed;
(ii) the Project Integra representatives, currently Graham Tombs from New Forest District Council and Bob Lisney from Hampshire County Council, be asked to initiate discussion for the establishment of a multi-sector network by September 1999, and for it to have developed its Terms of Reference, objectives and work plan by December 1999, reporting to a members' team derived from the Project Integra Partnership;
(iii) the working group be asked to report to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association in January 2000 on progress and produce a scoping report by December 2000 or early 2001 intended for wider consultation;
(iv) initial funding for the financial year 1999/2000 be derived from the existing Project Integra Waste Minimisation budget £25,000, and a further £25,000 be contributed by local authorities on a pro-rata basis.
(v) that funding for years two and three of the project be subject to detailed consideration in the December 1999 report but it be acknowledged that ongoing contribution would be required from local authorities but that other organisations would be asked to contribute.
The development of a future waste management strategy needs to be positioned now as a 'Resource Recovery' strategy with performance indicators linked to broader sustainability indicators, eg reduction in greenhouse gases, less transport use, etc.
Thus boxes 4 and 5 on the diagram represent the new dimension where the new networks and thinking is required. It is helped by the experience of PI's research and information (1 and 2) and by the debate to be held in September of the future pattern of consumption via the 'Down to Earth' Conference (3).
Best Value will be developed throughout, building on the PI work to date but with different community and public involvement (6a and 6b).
Waste minimisation will remain as the only specific 'waste hierarchy' element, as other choices depend on the outcome of 4 and 5 and not a rigid set of waste functions and targets.
The collection system (8) becomes the key to the future and WCAs will play a major role in their review to facilitate greater recovery. The interaction of this review with HWS's ability to provide the full range of processing facilities (9) enables costs and benefits to be determined (also in conjunction with the community under Best Value).
The outcome of the model is a revised strategy (10) which can feed into the Minerals and Waste Local Plan (11).
During the process the issues of the Project Integra structure and legal entity will become clearer and a very formal development. At the same time a wider public/private sector debate can be influenced and correlated with the Project Integra strategy.
NOTE: Appendix A and Appendix 2 to the report are available on request
|Author:||Nick Goulder, Policy Manager|
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