Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  Policy development and review


This report provides the outline content of the revised joint waste management strategy for consultation by the Committee.





Tom Beagan, Partnerships Officer

Matthew Smyth, Waste Partnership and Development Team Manager


Key Points Raised During the Discussion:


1.    The report was introduced by the Waste Partnership and Development Team Manager who began by explaining to the Committee how the service has re-examined the underlying values of the Surrey Waste Partnership’s (SWP) joint strategy in conjunction with Districts and Boroughs. It was felt that this was the best way to achieve a simpler vision yet retain the core principles of the SWP strategy. The Chairman then clarified that the SWP was a joint venture between twelve authorities (including Surrey County Council) and that both officers and Members were represented at SWP meetings.

2.    Officers explained how a new strategy would be drafted (in January 2015) after a period of consultation with key stakeholders. It was made clear to the Committee that, during this consultation period, the service would make a detailed analysis of resident’s opinions regarding the current recycling process and the existing strategy. Concerns were raised by Members that current public awareness of the consultation was low and that the service should make efforts to improve this going forward - it was therefore suggested that the consultation period be extended to October. Officers asked Members to help distribute information regarding the consultation to local residents, where possible.


3.    Members emphasised the need for officers to advise Parish Councils and Residents’ Associations of the consultation and also to consider how they would engage people without access to IT and businesses. Officers informed the Committee that in addition to any online consultation, the service would be sending in excess of two thousand freepost questionnaires to bolster the consultation process.

4.    Officers outlined the potential opportunities presented to the Council by processing certain products more efficiently. It was suggested that to capitalise on this, the current focus and method of Surrey’s waste collection could be improved to include greater focus on textiles. The Committee recognised this as an avenue for greater investigation however some Members pointed out that the issue currently facing such a proposal would be the insufficient level of infrastructure local authorities currently have to process textiles. It was pointed out that, in the district of Elmbridge, Surrey Police were experiencing a rise in the level of textile related theft. It is assumed that this rise is attributable to the increase in value opportunity that textiles now present.


5.    The Chairman asked for the Committee’s input on Table 1 of the revised joint strategy as it was felt by some of the Committee that the ‘Core Values’ that had been established needed further refining in order to allow the service’s vision to be better expressed and conveyed to residents. Members identified that by simplifying the structure of the ‘Core Values’, residents would be better positioned to understand the strategy during the consultation process. It was also suggested that ‘consultation with Members’ be included in Table 2 of the draft strategy.

6.    There was acknowledgement among the Committee that there was a limit to the number of waste bins that residents and authorities could manage and that by increasing the level of materials being recycled (such as textiles), there was a risk that residents would find this unmanageable.

7.    Concern was raised that refuse and recycling bins were often left in careless locations by District and Borough employees following collection. The Waste Partnership and Development Team Manager assured the Committee that this was a continued area of improvement and would be monitored closely going forward.

8.    It was suggested that there was particular confusion among residents regarding what plastics were appropriate for recycling and what were not. A Member of the Committee asked if co-mingling provided better value for residents and if there were any examples of this practice being adopted within the Partnership. Officers informed the Committee that there was no consensus across Districts and Boroughs on this policy. Members recognised that, in future, residents needed more clarity on the practical implications of recycling issues like co-mingling. The view was also expressed that educating residents about more general recycling behaviours should be a priority.

9.    Some Members of the Committee were concerned about the lack of unity between the waste contracts arranged for Districts and Boroughs and the effect this was having on the waste strategy and resident recycling habits as a result. The Chairman explained to the Committee that the SWP was currently attempting to align waste contracts across all partnership Districts and Boroughs in order to foster better waste co-ordination and establish a unilateral recycling policy (with regards to what materials can and cannot be recycled).

10.  Officers informed the Committee of upcoming changes to waste legislation (via the Waste Regulations which come into full force in 2015) that may have an impact on the way that Partnership authorities collect waste. In response to this potentiality, the Partnership has launched a project to assess the extent to which the current systems are appropriate and the cost and environmental impacts that could result from any changes. In the event of changes to waste collection services, the Committee was advised that a new consultation would be launched.


Recommendations: None.


Actions/Further information to be provided:


Officers to extend the consultation deadline to October 2014.


Committee Next Steps:


The Select Committee will scrutinise an updated version of the Strategy in late 2014/early 2015 following the public consultation.


Supporting documents: