One impact of Covid 19 on this year is the fact that all events have been pushed back to the later part of the year. This means that “conference season” has most definitely arrived with events taking place each week from now through to October.
The first of these happened last week when the LARAC Scotland conference took place in Glasgow. It was the first in person LARAC conference to happen since our UK conference in October 2019. It was also the first meeting/event I had left the office for since March 2020 and the first train journey as well.
The event was very well attended by delegates and exhibitors and despite the mitigation that was in place for Covid it almost felt like we had never been away. There were some really interesting speakers, lots of questions form the floor and a buzz of conversation during the coffee and lunch breaks. That to me is always a sign of good event, when you can hear the level of engagement from those attending.
It will be interesting to see what the feedback is from those who did attend but it does bode well going forward that in person conferences still have a place and that people want to get out and engage with each other.
The day showed that there is a lot to tackle for local authorities in Scotland, as there is in the rest of the UK. Throughout the day I felt that the issue of infrastructure was on that kept coming up. We are about to go through a period of immense change for household waste and business waste collections and the facilities needed to support this may be different from the facilities we currently have. Add into the mix the landfill bans that are coming along in Scotland, and it means we will not short of things to do in the next five years – not that we have been short of things to do in the last five years.
In terms of events - next up will be the LARAC Wales Conference on 8 September. Places for this are free for LARAC members so please if you haven’t already booked your place on this. The following week LARAC will have a stand at the LetsRecycle Live exhibition that takes place in Stoneleigh on 15th and 16th. LARAC will be on stand AA3 so please come along and say hello and talk to us about the consultations and more general waste matters of the day. It is one of reasons we attend these types of exhibitions is to have those more informal chats with our members.
The following week we will also have a stand at the RWM exhibition (stand 5W82 - note new stand number) and another chance to come along and talk to us about how LARAC best support you.
Then for us it will be the big one and our UK Conference at the Metropole Hilton at the NEC on 6 and 7 October. We really are looking forward to having our UK conference on again and the delegate numbers and exhibitor numbers are looking really good. As always the middle evening will see us host the LARAC Celebration awards and judging for those takes place this week. It is great to see so many entries coming and shows that the work did not just start and end with Covid 19 and that local authorities and their partners have still be looking to introduce new systems and have continued to innovate in past year.
We hope to see you at one of these events in the coming couple of months as we start to feel as though the world is returning to some semblance of normal, whatever that might actually look like.