Knee deep and wading through ...

By now I expect many of you are knee deep trying to wade through the four consultation documents that were launched 2 weeks ago, with a total of 489 pages to read (including impact assessments) and 300 questions to answer, this will be no easy task and not forgetting we still have day jobs to do as well.

Hopefully the information we are sharing with you, our members, is proving useful and you are aware of (and maybe booked onto) the five consultation workshops we are holding in the last couple of weeks of March. They are: Fri 22 March – Stafford; Mon 25 March – Bristol; Tues 26 March - Welwyn Garden; Thurs 28 March – London; and Fri 29 March – Manchester. If you’re not, please email as soon as possible to reserve a place.

This week, on Tuesday morning, we launched the online survey to gain your views on key aspects of the consultations. In the next couple of weeks, we are expecting to release the free downloadable DRS tool so you can assess the impacts of DRS on your authority.[CT1]

Once we have gathered all the data, feedback and survey results, we are aiming to send LARAC’s draft consultation responses to all LARAC members for information by 22nd April. You can use this as a basis for your own response if you so wish.

In between reading consultations, last month I attended Packaging Innovations 2019 at Birmingham NEC, and spoke on a panel debate session concerned with how to recruit consumers for a circular economy. It was a different audience to what I’m used to, hardly any other local authority people around, but it was good to be able to inform a new audience on how councils are still providing excellent services in this climate of austerity, and what we want to see happen as a result of the strategy consultations. I also got an opportunity to tell them that we want the plethora of “recycling” symbols removed from packaging as this is the sort of thing causing confusion amongst consumers.

Scotland’s DRS analysis of responses was released recently, and interesting that there was a call for a UK wide scheme, i.e. for Scotland not to go alone, and that evidence suggests that any DRS needs to be easy to use, simple, convenient and accessible. That sounds like kerbside collection to me! There was also a call for more evidence. Rewind to March/April last year when I talked about the report released from the Voluntary and Economic Incentives group: more research needs to be done on the impacts of DRS before introducing something that adds to the financial burdens that LAs are already experiencing.

I’m hoping to get to at least two of the LARAC consultation workshops, so hope to see some of you there, but if you do have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact LARAC. In the meantime - happy reading!