Agenda item


Purpose of report: To inform the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee of the outcome of the work of the Waste Task Group.



Declarations of interest:


Mr Essex declared an interest in that he was a trustee of a furniture re-use charity.




Dr Andrew Povey, Chairman of the Waste Task Group

Alan Bowley, Interim Head of Environment

Becky Rush, Task Group Member

Jonathan Essex, Task Group Member

Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group explained that the Groups work was to focus on how the council could strengthen its environment friendly agenda, rather than focusing on trying to save money.
  2. Task group members explained that there was consensus to keep all Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) in Surrey open and supported the reduce-reuse-recycle vision. During visits to a number of CRCs across Surrey it was clear that practice across each varied greatly.
  3. There was a discussion around the increase in fly-tipping and why this was occurring. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group explained that the majority of fly-tipping was commercial waste and that a recommendation had been included within the Task Groups report around future working with the commercial sector to help tackle this issue. More clarity was required around what can and cannot be taken to CRCs which was adding to fly tipping issues.
  4. The Interim Head of Environment explained that fly tipping data was collated by the district and boroughs although this information was not always accurate as it was measured differently depending on the authority. A fly tipping working group had been established to engage and educate the public.
  5. The Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste explained that a fly tipping strategy had been introduced by the council 2 years ago.
  6. A member stated their support for the discontinuing of charges for small quantities of wood and rubble although the Cabinet Member confirmed that these charges had never been introduced.
  7. There was agreement that the messages being shared regarding CRCs had been confused and mixed. More work needed to be undertaken to educate residents around the benefits of CRCs and recycling in general. It was explained that the Resources and Waste Strategy would see the introduction of a tax for certain recycling materials.
  8. There was a recognition that recycling rates required improving and district and boroughs had a role in supporting this through the waste collection and disposal contracts through the Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP).
  9. There was a short discussion around staffing at CRCs. It was agreed that any staffing issues should be reported to the Cabinet Member outside of the meeting for investigation by officers.
  10. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group informed the committee that he would be attending the next meeting of the SEP. He explained that the SEP did not have any targets in place and required vigorous scrutiny. A Member of the Task Group added that the SEP required turbo charging so action was being undertaken rather than the SEP becoming a talking shop.
  11. A member explained that in Melbourne, Australia local councils allow residents to leave items for recycling and collection outside their homes which the council then collects for free. It was argued that this was something the council should seriously consider.   




The Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee endorse the Waste Task Groups recommendations in particular keeping all community recycling centres open, discontinuing charges for small quantities of wood and rubble and encouraging community composting.




For the Select Committee to scope scrutiny work around the Surrey Environment Partnership as part of its forward work programme.


Supporting documents: