June 19th, 2015

Is the LGA right about EfW overcapacity?


by Adam Baddeley and Peter Jones


Eunomia has been publicly warning for four years now that the UK’s “dash for trash” will leave us – like Sweden, the Netherlands and some of our other Northern European neighbours – with more residual waste infrastructure than we really need.

Read more on Is the LGA right about EfW overcapacity?…

May 29th, 2015

Pickles’ parting shot


by Joe Papineschi and Gwen Frost


I suspect that the departure of Eric Pickles from the role of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will not be widely mourned amongst council officials. His replacement, Greg Clark, had a previous stint as minister of state in the department between 2010 and 2012, and subsequently held the cities brief. While it may be too early to pronounce with confidence that a major change of approach is in the air, Clark is a strong advocate of decentralisation of power, and might reinvigorate the localism agenda that fell by the wayside as Pickles increasingly sought to bend councils to his will.

Read more on Pickles’ parting shot…

April 2nd, 2015

Pick of the bunch: communities and litter

Photo by  St Peter's Community News (CC BY-SA 2.0)

by Sophie Crosswell


If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that litter’s a bad thing, right? Yet the most recent Local Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE) report found ‘unacceptable’ levels of litter at 11% of sites inspected – and ‘acceptable’ doesn’t necessarily mean none. So if we all agree that litter is bad, how come we drop so much of it, and what are we going to do about it?

Read more on Pick of the bunch: communities and litter…

February 27th, 2015

Solving a sticky litter problem


by Emma How


My husband vividly recalls being made to write out ‘the mastication of glutinous substances is obnoxious’ 100 times on the blackboard when caught chewing in class. Although symbolising the anti-social mindlessness of adolescence for many a schoolmaster, the problems associated with chewing gum are, regrettably, not confined to the Just William classrooms of yesteryear.

Read more on Solving a sticky litter problem…

January 23rd, 2015

Clean streets, dirty conscience?


by Ian Doyle


Ask residents what’s important to them in their local environment and clean streets will always be one of the first things they mention. Litter, in all its unpleasant forms, has the power to dramatically affect perceptions of environmental quality and reduce residents’ pride of place, and there is evidence that it has detrimental effects in terms of property values, mental health, and crime. Therefore, it’s not surprising that clean streets are given high value.

Read more on Clean streets, dirty conscience?…

January 20th, 2015

The outsource of it all

Manchester City Hall

by Phillip Ward


I once talked a Government Minister out of legislating for charging for domestic refuse disposal. It was 26 years ago and, in my defence, I knew nothing of waste policy, nor was recycling of much interest to most people at that time. My objections were not therefore based on waste considerations but on the fact that the Minister concerned wanted to add the provisions to the Parliamentary Bill I was managing. Since that was dealing with the introduction of the Poll Tax, my advice was that the Bill was controversial enough without opening up a whole new front. I do sometimes wonder whether, with the advantage of hindsight, I should have simply said “Yes, Minister”.

Read more on The outsource of it all…

January 16th, 2015

Mutual benefit: austerity, waste partnerships and Teckal

Marriage de la vierge

by Wayne Lewis


The age of public sector austerity ushered in by the 2008 financial crisis has fallen with particular severity on local government. The Local Government Association (LGA) has calculated that the latest Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 18th December 2014 represents an 8.8% cut to local government budgets from April 2015. This brings to 40% the total reduction in core government funding since 2010 – then typically around two thirds of a council’s budget. Yet the deficit remains obstinately large and whatever the complexion of central government after May’s general election it’s likely that we’ll see councils’ spending power continue to shrink.

Read more on Mutual benefit: austerity, waste partnerships and Teckal…