THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 11TH JANUARY, 2016
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 1ST DECEMBER, 2015
" WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANSING UPDATE REPORT (DEHS) -
The Operational Manager for the service area advised that there had been significant legislation changes within the field of waste and, as such, the report had been prepared in response to a number of requests from the Scrutiny Committee for updates in relation to the Waste Management service and contained details of the progress that the Waste Management and Cleansing division was making to achieve Welsh Government's Statutory Recycling Targets and on the possible implications of new waste related legislation and initiatives.
The significant Welsh Government (WG) legislative development and policy changes that had taken place 2015 included the new Regulation implementing Article 11 of the European Union Revised Waste Framework Directive (January 2015), revised WG waste grant allocation and proposed Welsh legislation as well as two significant waste management reviews undertaken by WG that would impact on the Council's waste management services. The first review related to the Sustainable Waste Management Grant (SWMG) to assess the impact of the grant since its introduction in 2001/02 and whether it was considered value for money. The second related to the Collections Blueprint that was introduced alongside the Municipal Sector Waste Plan, setting out what WG believed to be the best set of waste and recycling collection arrangements to meet and exceed the Statutory Recycling Targets with the best environmental outcomes.
The latest developments that may impact on service delivery were reported as follows:
Single Environment Grant (SEG)
WG wrote to all Local Authorities explaining that a Single Grant was being introduced with applications to be submitted to them by 30th June, 2015, to demonstrate how work being proposed in the submission contributed to priorities identified by the Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Carl Sargent, and the goals included in the Well-Being of Future Generations Act (WBFGA) which comes into force for Local Authorities in April 2016.
At recent meetings between Local Authorities and WG officials, officers had been advised that future WG grant payments could be subject to cuts of up 25 to 50%. The detail for this would be provided in the UK Government's Spending Review announcement.
The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services stated that he would be meeting the Minister the following day to discuss the grant with the anticipation that this would be received with the agreement of the Minister.
Statutory Recycling Targets:
The Minister stated that he was not prepared to change the Statutory Recycling Targets set to rise to 70% by 2024/25. However he acknowledged the scale of the challenge Local Authorities would face should such cuts as detailed above materialise. He therefore made an offer to local government to come up with a set of proposals by which the targets could still be achieved if the grant was cut.
Guidance on Well-Being of Future Generations Act (WBFGA):
On 7th September, 2015 WG issued a consultation document on its proposed statutory guidance for fulfilling duties under the WBFGA. The Act sets out a legally binding common purpose in the form of seven well-being goals for local government and other specified public bodies. All these bodies would need to be able to demonstrate how they were working towards these goals in their waste management capacity to improve the long term wellbeing of Wales. The essential principle of the Act was that "the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
The Environment Bill:
The target was to achieve Royal Assent by Spring 2016 and its stated purpose was to enable the planning and management of Wales' natural resources to be undertaken in a more coherent way. Members were advised that the Bill included the following:
- The requirement for full separate collection service for segregated recyclable materials is available to all those that produce waste;
- Businesses and the Public Sector and all other waste producers, but not the householder, will need to ensure that clean, uncontaminated recyclable material are separated before it moves onto the next stage of reprocessing;
- Recyclable waste and organic material, including food waste, will be banned from being sent to landfill or Energy from Waste facilities;
- Non domestic food waste will be banned from being disposed of to the sewage system.
Members were concerned about the enforcement of non-compliance in relation to waste recycling, particularly in relation to bullet point (4) as this would prove significantly difficult and would be extremely interesting to see how Natural Resources Wales would deal with this element.
Compliance with Welsh Government Recycling Collections Policies:
Due to insufficient internal resources WG and the Waste Resource and Action Programme (WRAP) were currently assessing how the Council undertook its Waste Collection Services. Waste Management and Cleansing were therefore currently working with WG within their Collective Collaboration Programme (CCP) and their consultants WRAP to carry out the necessary service modelling and future collection methodology. The outcomes from this study would be reported to Members for their consideration early in 2016 following completion of WRAP's work.
Residual Waste Treatment:
The early construction of the Prosiect Gwyrdd Trident Park energy from waste plant allowed the Council to terminate the landfill contract with Biffa earlier than anticipated (31st March, 2016) by entering into an interim contract with Viridor and this element of the Council's waste has now been diverted to the Plant. However, there could still be occasions (such as when the Plant was not working) for the need to send waste to the City and County of Cardiff's Lamby Way Landfill site.
Organic Waste Treatment (Kitchen food and Green Garden Waste):
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils had subsequently, in March 2015, entered into a contract with Kelda Ltd for the construction and operation of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and Open Windrow Composting (OWC) facilities to treat food and green garden wastes respectively, over a 15 year period commencing on 1st April, 2017. The Contract comprised a purpose built AD treatment plant for the treatment of food waste at Tide Field Road, Tremorfa, Cardiff which was now under construction and an OWC for the composting of garden waste at a windrow facility at Cardiff City Council's Lamby Way sited on a former OWC site which however, required extending and additional construction works. Work on the AD plant was well underway with piling and other ground works completed, and both the AD and OWC were on programme for commission in the autumn of 2016.
In order to achieve the 2015/16 Statutory Recycling Target of 58% new initiatives had been introduced, including the recycling of residual waste deposited at the Council's Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and the procurement of future Anaerobic Digestion (AD) infrastructure for treating food and garden waste. Waste Management and Cleansing were also currently re-procuring the management of the Council HWRCs with an aim of delivering higher contractual recycling targets. These initiatives aimed to deliver the diversion of waste from landfill and waste recovery through recycling and composting. However, despite the introduction of these initiatives current performance indicators suggested that the Council would still only achieve the 58% Statutory Recycling Targets for the current year. As a countermeasure to reduce the risk of the Council possibly failing to achieve the 58% target and of WG imposed fines, Waste Management and Cleansing had entered into an agreement with Viridor for the recycling of its proportion of the PG Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) generated during the interim contact.
The report which covered a number of areas within the service was welcomed by the Committee and comments were made as follows.
Members expressed their pleasure in respect of the work undertaken in relation to Prosiect Gwyrdd as the officer advised this had proved to be an extremely good project for the Vale. However, they were concerned about the increase in targets required by WG in relation to recycling performance and the cost implications that this would impose. The FOE (Friends of the Earth) would also be challenging co- mingled Local Authorities who did not comply with the law.
The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure services advised that separation in any event would be difficult for the Local Authority and, as it was his view that co-mingling had proved successful in the Vale and that being forced to segregate would be a backward step.
Reference was made to the work that Welsh Water (WW) was currently undertaking and had done in relation to the Cowbridge area where there had been an issue regarding blocked sinks with WW placing notices in and around the area advising people not to block their sinks and toilets. Members considered the policing of issues like this was of significant concern as to how such policing could actually be undertaken. The Operational Manager advised of his concerns with the potential expectation of policing the black bags, which again would have a significant impact on the Authority if undertaken. He reassured Members that the Waste Team would endeavour to try to reach the targets put forward by WG, but the difficulties as outlined within the report and at the meeting, were significant for the Authority. Members expressed the hope that WG would allow them to carry on co-mingling within the Vale as this was providing more recycling opportunities with the incentive being to encourage more residents to recycle in the future.
Having considered the report, it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the Operational Manager be thanked for an informative report.
(2) T H A T the report and the views of the Committee be referred to Cabinet with the request that Cabinet continue to urge Welsh Government for the Vale of Glamorgan to carry on with its co-mingling service as it was working within the Vale and was encouraging more people to recycle.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To update the Committee on waste and recycling issues and to thank the Operational Manager for the information provided.
(2) To inform Cabinet of the work currently ongoing in relation to waste management and of the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee.
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 1st December, 2015