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Paper 6 - 24 March 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

24 March 2000

MEETING THE AIMS OF THE MODERNISED AGENDA FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT - A SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE OPPORTUNITY

Report by the County Surveyor (Hampshire County Council) and Head of Public Services (New Forest District Council)

RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that the Association:

(1) supports the approach in the report;

(2) endorses the establishment of a Hampshire (or a sub-regional) network of interested representatives; and

(3) sets a remit to work towards producing a plan by the late autumn 2000 for achieving the objectives set out in this report, including financial implications and tangible benefits.

SUMMARY

This report updates Members on the progress in considering the wider opportunities presented by taking a wider view of the use of discarded materials that currently are predominantly disposed of to landfill.

It promotes a way forward in the context of sustainable development and the achievement of change via modernised processes of local authority leadership and partnership working.

INTRODUCTION

1. A previous report to the Association on 'The Future for Project Integra' (23 July 1999) obtained support to investigate issues associated with considering 'waste' as a resource, the potential for market development and the possible need for a new legal arrangement between authorities.

2. A report on the outcome of that work will be presented to the Project Integra Countywide Members' meeting on 30 March 2000.

3. There have been many discussions in the last eight months within the Integra partnership and a way forward has emerged which secures the framework for Project Integra, but which allows its influence in a wider arena.

4. This report will deal principally with that wider arena but needs first to explain the proposed direction for Project Integra.

PROJECT INTEGRA

5. The issues that have been of concern to the Integra partnership have been:

(a) markets for recyclable material;

(b) the impact of increasing collections of recyclable materials to 40% of total waste (currently 25%);

(c) variability of income/costs;

(d) potential for greater competition; and

(e) lack of speed in responding to opportunities.

6. This led to considering whether there was benefit in promoting Integra as an organisation to broker deals with reprocessors to guarantee outlets for collected material.

7. The advantages were perceived to be:

(a) the strength/experience of joint working;

(b) the achievement to date and future forecasts for volume; and

(c) the size of tonnages and quality available to the market.

8. However some disadvantages proved an intractable stumbling block for some time:

(a) tonnages were not necessarily large enough to foster inward investment;

(b) lack of a single legal entity perceived as impeding contractual opportunities; and

(c) no influence over destination of materials.

9. In considering these issues, it became apparent that the market place for material would become even more volatile in the next five years as the impact of EU and UK legislation was enforced.

New legislation on producers gives them an obligation to recover greater quantities of packaging materials and this will mean that material from domestic waste will be required.

Electronic equipment and automotive take-back schemes will also require more facilities for dismantling and reprocessing.

Local businesses have regularly asked for opportunities to recycle material.

An aggregate tax will create incentives to recycle more construction based material.

10. In considering the wider impact of these issues, it was agreed that Integra should involve representatives at both member and officer level in a wider network of interested parties seeking a way forward to meet new demands in a sustainable way. Thus Integra will proceed and use its skills to maximise domestic recycling via a wider partnership.

THE WIDER SCENE

11. There will be more material seeking re-use and being recovered for reprocessing in the future. This will be true for industrial, commercial, institutional as well as domestic material. Coupled with the use of energy recovery via incineration, pyrolysis, gassification or anaerobic digestion, the opportunity exists for the Association to promote the establishment of a network to initiate action to secure the most sustainable response to need.

12. To do this, new facilities and logistics are needed. The economics of current systems will need to change, (they have already been impacted variously by landfill tax, recycling credits and producer responsibility notes).

13. a potential scenario might include:

(a) establishing how much material, what quality and regularity, is available for reprocessing;

(b) determining the cost effective means to maximise the recovery of materials;

(c) considering the use of pilot projects for:

(1) collection and storage of material from commerce and its inter-relationship with domestic recovered materials;

(2) considering the use of material recovery facilities; and

(3) expanding reprocessing facilities or encouraging inward investment.

(d) creating the strategic policy framework and stating land use plans to enable schemes to be developed; and

(e) engaging the community in all its guises in the issues of consumption and resource management (rather than waste).

14. The benefits could include:

(a) a more cost effective system;

(b) less transport and energy use;

(c) more jobs;

(d) contribution to LA21 and sustainable development objectives;

(e) preservation of current landfill, obviating the need to provide so much more;

(f) a true 'best value' approach which enables Local Authority leadership, community engagement and a partnership approval to delivery; and

(g) meets EU and UK targets in legislation.

15. These issues have been discussed with:

(a) LA21 Group;

(b) Hampshire Planning Officers' Group

(c) Integra network;

(d) some economic development teams;

(e) SEEDA;

(f) GOSE;

(g) other authorities, eg Kent, West Sussex;

(h) the waste industry (HWS, Biffa);

(I) Surrey and Hampshire Environmental Business Association;

(j) Chambers of Commerce;

(k) Environment Agency;

(l) Universities and Colleges of Higher Education;

(m) Packing industry; and

(n) Other Non-Governmental Organisations and Environmental Bodies.

16. There is overwhelming support from these organisations for the Agenda set out above and encouragement to make things happen. The challenge is now to do just that.

JOHN EKINS
County Surveyor (Hampshire County Council)

GRAHAM TOMBS
Head of Public Services (New Forest District Council)

Date: 14 March 2000
Annex: 0
Contact: Bob Lisney - 01962 846647 E-Mail suryrl@surv.hants.gov.uk

Last update: 28/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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