Headlines: October 21st, 2003

Local authorities are being invited to bid for a share of 135 million pounds, which has been provided by Defra for waste minimisation and recycling schemes over the next two years. The money is the being made available on a challenge fund basis and is additional to the mainstream funding the Government provides to support waste management work in local councils.The new cash has been provided ahead of a previously announced move from a challenge fund to a grant that will be related to local authority performance. In inviting applications, Defra has signalled a simplification of the previous approach to challenge funding with no specific focus on poor performing local authorities.

The department has also announced a new approach to partnership working, encouraging those authorities that handle large volumes of waste to work with each other and with Government to make best use of funding. All local authorities will have a chance to bid for up to a million and a half pounds each for particular projects. Those dealing with large volumes of waste are being encouraged to apply for funding of up to five million on a programme management basis to secure best value.

A range of support, analysis and assessment work to complement the funding and help local authorities deliver the best schemes to reduce levels of waste and to improve recycling services is also being provided under the Waste Implementation Programme. The Environment Minister, Elliot Morley has welcomed the new approach for authorities dealing with large volumes of waste. Local government, he said, had indicated that Defra needed to do more than just provide funding to help bring about the move away from landfilling. The new funding was an opportunity for local councils to respond to local demands for a high quality local service.