Wow - it really happened!

Was it really only last week we were gathered in Birmingham and settling into #LARAC2021 as LARAC Chair Carole Taylor gave the opening address of the conference? Hard to believe it was and in a way hard to believe it happened.

But happen it did, and I know there was a huge sense of relief that we were able to go ahead in person and to a certain extent, normally. And what a turn out from LARAC members, sponsors, and speakers. We are truly grateful that so many of you put your trust in us to come to such an event in the times we are still living in, we hope it delivered for you.

People ask me during the LARAC conference how it is going, and I always say I have no idea, because I normally don’t. For me, Carole, and members of the exec it is three days of intense work and dealing with all the issues and problems that arise at such an event I find it difficult to gauge just how well the speakers are going down, how the delegates feel about all the arrangements and whether the food has hit the spot. So, I tend to answer with a question and ask how the other person thinks it is going. The feedback I got last week was an overwhelming, it's going really well.

That was very pleasing to hear, not just because it means all the hard work was worth it, but because we want the LARAC Conference to be the main event that local authority waste officers look to book on each year. And for that to happen the previous one has to be good. We did feel we had a strong programme this year and that the workshops were on topics that people had an interest in and wanted to attend. We will getting more formal feedback from delegates and as always of you have any thoughts or comments on what we should be doing the same or differently next year please let us know at

Whilst I am sure there was some frustration that Defra didn’t really provide much information or news it was to be expected in a way and is a function of the timing of the conference in relation to the timing of the spending review. The fact that LARAC 2019 was the last time Chris Preston spoke at an event prior to Covid-19 and LARAC 2021 was his first one after shows the importance Defra place on both us as an organisation, and the event itself. I am sure there will be a lot more that Defra will be able to say next year.

The conference is a big undertaking and planning starts the February before. I need to say a huge thank you to EMG for helping to organise the event and running it on behalf of LARAC. They do a fantastic job and work tirelessly to deliver a top-quality event for you all. We will review all the feedback and then start working on LARAC 2022 with EMG in the new year .

For those of you who attended the awards night I do hope you didn’t mind the mutual appreciation society at the start of the evening. For me it was important to publicly acknowledge and thank Carole and Jenny, the LARAC Support Services Officer, for their contributions to LARAC. We are a small organisation that relies on the knowledge, expertise, and selflessness of those in it and Carole and Jenny have made a huge difference to where LARAC is today and what it does for the members. It was heartening to hear the applause they both got from the audience, and it was fully deserved. They will be both be missed when they step down from their respective roles.

If you would like to revisit Conference via the photos or the presentations and workshops then click here.

But with conference already a week old we are looking forward now at LARAC. Work will continue on representing local authorities to government and industry as we prepare for the outputs from the consistent collections, DRS and EPR consultations. And LARAC will be considering options for its own structures going forward so we can do even more for our members.