Headlines: January 6th, 2006

Local authorities will continue to get specialist help to manage their household waste more effectively with the announcement that ‘Direct Consultancy Support’ is to be extended for another two years. The support is provided through the Waste Implementation Programme run by Defra to ensure less rubbish goes to landfill sites.The WIP was set up in June 2003 and new figures show it has led to encouraging progress with England on course to meet its target to recycle 25 per cent of household waste by 2005-06. The additional rounds of WIP funding will concentrate on county and district councils working in partnership on projects. Up to 50,000 pounds a year will go to support such partnerships in waste planning, waste strategy development procurement and analysis of waste. Up to 15,000 pounds a year will be available to unitary authorities, where partnership working will also be encouraged.

John Enright, Head of Local Authority Support for WIP, said almost 95 per cent of local authorities had received consultancy support under the scheme and the feedback from councils showed this was having a big impact on their performance. WIP, he said, was designed to empower local councils to deliver better services, meet recycling targets and ensure that waste was a real priority in local policy.

“Indeed, higher recycling rates are now being delivered by the great majority of councils, with some heading towards the 30 or 40 per cent mark. However, we cannot afford to stand still. As a nation we are still in second gear compared to many of our European neighbours who recycle and compost up to 60 per cent of their waste,” Mr. Enright said. He added that his team had been working closely with local government to find ways of sharing experience and there would be a strong element of partnership working in the new projects. Initially WIP will be looking for applications to fund ‘time-critical’ projects that need to start by May 2006. Separate funding will then be made available in October 2006.