Examination of witnesses (Questions 580
TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2000
EASTEAL and MR
580. The role of incineration in delivering
the system of waste management! There is definitely a change in
tone, if not more, in the Government strategy document now than
from its earlier draft, and I think authorities have been responding
to this. In order to achieve the Landfill Directive diversion
targets people are doing what they can in terms of recycling,
we still have nine or ten years to go before that first target
has to be met, 2010. In your opinion is there still sufficient
time to look very seriously at alternatives to incineration before
decisions are made? Would it be possible to have a presumption
against incineration in Essex?
(Mr Tuthill) The landfill contracts that I currently
have expire in 2007. There is the possibility of extending those
contracts for up to two years, where there is still ample capacity.
Given the amount of time that it takes to bring on-stream almost
any waste facility, whether one is talking about the civic amenity
sites or an incinerator, it seems there is not a lot of difference
in the time. Given that we cannot get to a situation in Essex
where we fill the last landfill site we must prepare now. I see
no difficulty in developing contracts which allow recycling to
develop and not be hindered by, say, the introduction of incineration
should that come out of the contracts.
581. What have you looked at so far? What other
sorts of facilities, apart from incineration, major technical
facilities have you been looking at and costing?
(Mr Tuthill) We have three central composting sites
serving Essex. We are literally about to go to tender next month
to get a wider network of composting sites, we hope. They will
only be of use if the districts are able to afford to extract
the organic material from the waste stream in order to deliver
it to us. We have capacity with our existing sites. We will need
a number of material recycling facilities but we do need to determine
what level of recycling we are aiming at. One could have one in
Essex that deals with recycling up to a certain level, a second
one and maybe more comes on stream as recycling increases, with
local delivery points. The county would need to bear the cost
of moving the waste round.
582. Do you think waste collection and waste
disposal should be brought within a single board?
(Mr Tuthill) Given the very challenging targets Government
is giving us, given it is the only function that I am aware of
that is really split 50/50 between the two tiers of local government,
there has to be some way of bringing the two together, whether
it is a waste management board, whether it is utility, whatever
it is. Clearly we do need to have joined-up thinking to achieve
cost-effective waste management. We cannot afford to make mistakes.
There has to be absolute synergy between the two tiers.
583. Can I ask you about markets for recycling?
What have your local authorities done about increasing the proportion
of local authorities buying recyclable materials?
(Mr Tuthill) In Essex we have been only purchasing
recyclable paper, where it has been available for some three or
four years. We are encouraging people to buy other products made
from recyclable materials in our own supplies catalogue, which
applies across the authority. We identify those products which
are made from recyclable material and encourage people to buy
them. In terms of the market, the other thing we are doing is
we have established Remade Essex, the miniature version of the
national WRAP. That has been running for some months, it has investment
from all of the local authorities in Essex and has done its first
piece of work looking to stimulate interest in all aspects of
composting in preparation for the new composting contracts, which
we will be seeking next year.
(Mr Lisney) Very similar to Essex.
585. What sort of recyclable material is the
(Mr Lisney) Its own use of paper recovery systems
are all used, compost is used. We are currently looking with the
procurement people at a more substantial scheme. In future there
is going to be a lot more material and we are going to have to
be much more involved in the specification than we are now. We
have to go further up the ladder, really, that is the work we
are doing now.
586. From Chelmsford?
(Mr Easteal) I think I can only echo what my colleagues
said. Paper is one of the large things we buy. We have been buying
recycling paper for many, many years. Not only that, we publicise
this throughout the local community. Every dust-cart has a sign
on it saying, "Buy recycled", as do county council vehicles
as well. I think we are doing more than our bit in terms of purchasing
recycled, but I am sure there is still more we can do.
Chairman: On that note, can I thank you all
very much for your evidence.