Happy New Year and welcome to the first LOL of 2019

Despite there being a Christmas/New Year “break”, it feels like a lot has happened in the last month or so. Following my last LOL piece which speculated about whether the Resources and Waste Strategy would be with us in time for Christmas, we were all fortunately put out of our misery and it was launched exactly one week before Christmas Day. Probably as most of us were doing our last-minute preparations for the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and trying to mitigate any potential effects on services.

However, to save our members having to drop everything to read and digest the contents of all 146 pages of the strategy, by 10am on the day of the launch LARAC had circulated a briefing paper . I hope you found this useful, not just for yourself, but also to pass onto to your authority colleagues and council members. We also sent out a news release  with our initial thoughts and we are now looking forward to a whole raft of consultations that are due to follow which will hopefully provide us with more detail on how the strategy will shape the future of waste. So, watch this space as we will be contacting you, our members, for feedback to shape our consultation responses to ensure that local authorities have their say.

Maintaining the momentum, Michael Gove also launched the draft Environment Bill the day after launching the strategy. This important piece of legislation will create a new framework for environmental governance and maintain environmental protection as the UK leaves the EU.

And not to be resting on their laurels for too long, DEFRA also launched the first waste strategy related consultation in the period between Christmas and New Year, a period also known as “twixmas” I have discovered, and this consultation covers the proposal to extend the single-use plastic bag charge to all retailers and to also increase the minimum charge to 10p. LARAC is working on a response on behalf of our members, so any views are welcome as always.

To round off the year, Mr Gove announced the appointment of the government’s first Food Surplus and Waste Champion, Ben Elliot. He will aim to help the government eliminate food waste going to landfill by 2030 and his first task is to oversee the Food Waste Fund which will redistribute surplus food from retailers and food manufacturers.

If you are struggling for any New Year’s resolutions, then may I suggest one for you? To read LARAC OnLine in order to keep up to date with what is going on in the local authority world of waste, as 2019 is ramping up to be a very busy year!