So, the consistent collection consultation never made it to the starting gate before the pre-election period kicked in. That is frustrating to say the least as there is a lot of cross over with all three consultations, so it makes responding to the DRS and EPR ones that bit harder still.
All Defra is saying now is that it will come out shortly after the elections this week. That is not really much help and does not leave much time to consider all three consultations together. Whilst the deadline for the DRS and EPR consultations is a month away we know that a lot of you need to go through internal sign off processes. If those involve councillors, then it could be that you need the final response three weeks before the deadline to go through your internal process. That means you might get one week with the consistent collections consultation before your DRS and EPR ones are finalised.
LARAC, and others, have lobbied Defra on this but they are adamant that the DRS and EPR deadline will not be extended. So, we must work with what we have in front of us and that might mean we end up caveating some of our answers in the DRS and EPR responses a bit more than we might have done.
We have been doing our best to keep you all informed throughout the process, and feedback on the briefing notes, webinars and workshops has been positive. It is always reassuring that we are giving you the kind of information and services that are useful. It is likely we will do the same things when the consistent collections consultation comes out so if you have any feedback on how we might be able to do things in a more useful way then just let us know, we are always trying to improve what we do.
For most of you the consultations will no doubt be a distraction form the day job, which has changed so much in past 15 months. As everything starts to open up again, we wait to see what normal will look like and how that impacts on the services you all provide. There have been some changes to HWRC operations that might be retained going forward, such as booking systems. Tonnages may stay above pre covid levels as the 9-5 office routines does not return.
The longer lasting waste impacts of Covid have a strong bearing on the policy reforms that are being consulted on now, it is just we do not know yet in what way, which does not make it any easier to respond to them.
Hopefully, you should receive the LARAC draft responses soon and we hope these will help you as you draft your own responses to the consultations. We strongly urge you to put a response in from your own authority, the more local authority responses that are submitted the greater the message going back to the governments.