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Agenda item

Agenda item

Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Strategy

To approve the Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Strategy. 

Subject To Call In::Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.


That the Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Strategy be APPROVED


35.1           The report of the Head of Service: Waste and Recycling, circulated at Pages No. 74-100, attached, at Appendix 1, a revised interim waste strategy for the county.  Members were asked to approve the Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Strategy.

35.2          The Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment advised that the draft Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Strategy has been developed by the Gloucestershire Resources and Waste Partnership (GRWP) which was a partnership of all of the local authorities in the county.  The previous strategy, which was adopted in 2007 and ran to 2020, had now expired and the proposed draft strategy was an interim strategy, running from 2022 – 2025, due to uncertainty from the current government on the future of waste services; it was hoped that by 2025 there may be some clarity on whether Tewkesbury Borough Council, and some of its partners across the county, would need to change the way they managed their services. The interim strategy set out the GRWPs objectives and timescales for those and included things like: working together to improve waste services, running engagement campaigns to increase the take up of the food waste service and increase the level of plastics recycled, and reducing carbon by reducing waste and increasing recycling.  One of the commitments made in the strategy was to “continue to develop waste services that reduce residual waste per household. This includes the provision of smaller residual waste bins on a rolling replacement basis.”  Currently Tewkesbury Borough Council used 180 litre bins; some councils in the county used larger bins and others used smaller ones.  If Tewkesbury Borough Council was to make this commitment it would mean moving to a 140 litre bin; if that was to happen, it would be done gradually - replacing all bins in one go would cost in the region of £1m – but it would be possible to use 140 litre bins for all new developments and replacement bins which would have no direct cost and evidence showed it would increase recycling.  She clarified that Members were not being asked to make a decision on this today but she felt it helped to demonstrate the direction of travel.  Subject to the Committee’s approval, Officers would start work on the local waste policy and procedures based on the GRWP strategy.

35.3           A Member asked whether he was correct in saying that a smaller residual waste bin should result in increased recycling.  The Director: Communities drew attention to the Frith Resource Management Options Appraisal Report, attached at Appendix 2 to the report, which included a summary of the different waste collection systems for the districts within the GRWP.  In order to reduce waste and carbon it was recommended that smaller bins be provided.  The Member asked if there was potential for an increase in fly-tipping if the authority moved to smaller bins and he was advised that the biggest risk would be greater contamination of recycling; the majority of people were unlikely to turn to fly-tipping.  Another Member wholeheartedly supported the strategy and was pleased to see authorities across the county working together.  He also supported the introduction of smaller bins and suggested they should not be branded with the Tewkesbury Borough Council logo so they could be used across the partnership.  He felt that the biggest risk to Tewkesbury Borough was misuse of blue bins as people tended to throw everything into them and a discussion was needed about whether it was necessary to improve the recycling offer.  In response, the Director: Communities advised that the rejection rate at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) was 5% which was good; recycling was generally good quality and residents tended to do the right thing.  He explained that the Council would need to cover the cost of any changes to its waste collections at this point whereas if changes were imposed by the government, the government would pick up the cost.  The Member asked if there were any additional services which could be brought online at this stage to increase recycling, for instance, blue bags, and the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment confirmed that Tewkesbury Borough Council recycled the same materials as other authorities in the county, including cardboard, albeit it was comingled in the blue bin.  The Member indicated that his wider point was that there should be consistency across the county and, whilst he recognised it would be a fundamental change for an authority with this geography, he felt Tewkesbury Borough looked odd as the service was so different from others – he was keen to see cross-boundary working and that would be very difficult if it continued to operate differently to its neighbours.  Another Member shared this view and indicated that the reality was that it was much better to separate materials on site.  She had a number of questions regarding the bins including why they were not stickered when they were used incorrectly and whether it would be possible to sell any surplus 180 litre bins to Gloucester City Council if they were looking to downsize.  In terms of Page No. 80 of the report, the Member expressed the view that language such as ‘Reduction First’, ‘Segregation at Source’ and ‘Closing the Resource Loop’ was clunky – ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ was better.  With regard to Page No. 81 of the report, she asked that it be noted that the Energy from Waste facility, i.e. incineration, produced toxic particles as she felt it was misleading to the public.  In relation to Page No. 90 of the report, she indicated that she would support a move to three weekly residual waste collections and felt that would be a real possibility if people were more educated in terms of recycling and with the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility etc.  The Director: Communities reminded Members that no decision was being taken regarding bins today.  He had taken on board all of the points raised and would feed those back to the GRWP.  If Members approved the GRWP strategy, it would allow Officers to commence work on Tewkesbury Borough Council’s own waste policy and Members may want to debate waste collection methodology at that point.  A Member suggested it would be beneficial to set up a Member Working Group to discuss this in more detail and the Director: Communities advised that was interlinked with both the Depot Services Working Group and Climate Change and Ecology Management Group so it would need a broader conversation outside of the meeting to establish the best way forward.

35.4           It was proposed, seconded and

Action By:DC

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