Putting on the finishing touches … for now

Last week the LARAC Executive got together for an away day to finalise our responses to the Resources and Waste Strategy consultations. With an abundance of coffee and no shortage of opinions, we actually managed to complete the day slightly earlier than expected and now feel that we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Having already circulated the drafts to our members before the away day, which is what they had asked for, we will circulate the final responses to them later this week. Hopefully the responses will be useful in formulating your own position and save you some time. If you don’t plan to fully respond to all four consultations, then an email to DEFRA or HMRC saying you support the LARAC response would be worthwhile to strengthen the local authority stance.

However, even once the consultation deadlines close on 12/13 May, that will not be the end of it. We know there are to be at least two further consultations later this year/early next year on consistency/statutory guidance and EPR, and so not a case of resting on our laurels for too long. We will keep our members informed and fully represented as we progress through this year of the consultation.

We also had our quarterly Exec meeting last week and as well as the usual LARAC business, we talked about conference quite a lot. The Early Bird launch is imminent (if not already happened by the time you read this) and we will also be launching the scholarship applications shortly after, so look out for these.

A couple of months ago, the household recycling rates were released for 2017, and it was good to hear that the UK recycling rate had increased slightly up to 45.7%, 0.5% up from 2016. To me, that is really good news, showing that despite years of austerity we are still managing to collect and recycle more than before.

However the Circular Economy Package reuse and recycling targets are based on municipal waste rather than just household, and whilst we are potentially looking to commercial waste to improve our rates to get to 65% by 2035, what we must not forget that municipal waste also includes fly tipping. I raised this in a recent WRAP/DEFRA workshop that I attended as I’m not sure if impact assessments and calculations do include fly tipping. I know from just within Lancashire there are various ways in which district councils record and report fly tipping, so I feel what we need is some standardised guidance on the way we report and calculate fly tipping incidents and tonnages. Dare I say, we need some consistency?