Agenda and minutes

South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership Joint Executive Committee
Friday, 8th December, 2017 1.30 pm

Venue: Whickham Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Rosalyn Patterson Email:  rosalynpatterson@gateshead.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

This meeting was inquorate and those members in attendance discussed the following issues

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Douglas, Councillor Miller, Councillor Mordey, Councillor Foreman and substitute members Councillor Speding and Councillor Donovan.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Minutes:

Due to not being quorate it was recommended that the next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee confirm that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2017 are a correct record.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were submitted.

 

4.

Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Report attached

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the current position regarding the Residual Waste Treatment Contract and other contracts and activities managed by the Partnership.

 

It was reported that South Tyneside has announced a new 30 month HWRC management contract, with Remondis JBT, which commenced on 1 December 2017.

 

The accounts for 2016/17 have been reconciled and the latest 2017/18 performance was highlighted.

 

During recent months there has been a number of issues, this included lost hours due to a bottom ash drop-off chute blockage.  Line 4 was shut down for planned maintenance in September.

 

It was reported that the refinancing exercise commenced, with a lead officer from Suez being appointed to manage the exercise, financial and legal advisers have also been confirmed.

 

An insurance review is ongoing and a response regarding a revised model from the insurers is expected to be received soon.

 

A recruitment exercise is also underway to replace a technical engineer and site manager at Jack Crawford House.

 

It was noted that between April and October 2017 1,600 children and young people took part in waste awareness activities, including Joseph Swan Academy, Albany Primary School, Keelman’s Way School and the Jewish Boys School in Gateshead.

 

It was reported that the Partnership has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Public / Private Partnership category at the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2018 following the successful WEEE Reduce, Reuse and Recycle project. Also, additional funding of £75,000 has been received to deliver a further dedicated WEEE project building on the work already carried out.

 

MRF performance was highlighted and it was noted that there has been an increase in the amount of collection.  All MRF contracts are due to end 31 March 2018 and preferred options have been identified.

 

It was noted that Cllr Mordey received media coverage which highlighted the issue of contamination that all three Councils are dealing with.

 

It was also confirmed that, in relation to the refinancing exercise, it is an ideal time to secure a better deal on the debt. Suez has implemented phase one to go to the market and a financial consultant and legal consultants have been appointed who have an extensive knowledge of the project and the market. Committee was advised that there will be some gain as a result of the refinancing exercise, although the size of that gain is not yet known.

 

RESOLVED    -           That the Joint Executive Committee noted the progress of the

project.

 

 

5.

Communications Update

Presentation

Minutes:

A presentation was given to the Committee on waste-related stories that have been in the media.

 

It was noted that the Department for International Trade has urged the European Commission’s Market Access Advisory Committee to take action over China’s recycling import restrictions suggesting it is contravening international rules. Plastics Recyclers Europe said that whilst the National Sword operation is ‘creating turmoil’ it is as a result of years of badly collected and sorted waste within the EU, with an excess of low-quality plastics sent there for re-processing because such materials do not meet the EU’s own quality requirements and standards.  It was reported that China has changed its original proposals by increasing the contamination rate from 0.3% to 0.5%. However, this is still less than the current 1.5% limit, this will be adopted on 31 December 2017 but not come into force until 1 March 2018. Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently stated that he was unaware of  the impact of China’s ban on the UK but he was confident that UK waste industry could cope.  However, a recycling trade body has called for urgent investment in the UK to tackle the expected stockpiling of recyclate after the ban. Resources Minister, Therese Coffey, stated that the ban give an opportunity to reprocess more here, however she has faced criticism by other MPs and the Environmental Audit Committee for the Government’s lack of immediacy in dealing with the ramifications of the ban.

 

A recent episode of BBC’s Blue Planet II documentary series highlighted life in the open ocean, and highlighted the issue of plastic waste within the ocean. This included the journey of a female pilot whale and her new born calf which sadly died after being poisoned by its mother’s microbead-polluted milk. It was reported that researchers have even found sea creatures living in the deepest seas with plastic in their stomachs. However, the British Plastics Federation claim that there is no supporting evidence that the whale death was linked to waste plastics and that no autopsy had been carried out.   The Committee noted the high-profile that the issue of plastic pollution has featured across the media recently, and that this will hopefully increase the responsible recycling of plastic materials.

 

It was reported that the autumn budget included several environmental announcements, including confirmation that the government will launch a call for evidence in 2018 on a tax system for single-use plastics, aimed at reducing the amount of plastics waste. It is thought that this will include packaging and bubble wrap, takeaway boxes and throwaway coffee cups. This builds on the introduction of the plastic bag levy which has led to an 80% reduction in plastic bags since 2015.  The budget also announced that £30m extra funding over the next four years will be provided to help the Environment Agency tackle waste crime and that illegal waste operators will be liable for Landfill Tax.  It was reported that a cross-industry group of packaging manufacturers, retailers, material reprocessors, led by recycling charity Recoup,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee will be held on Friday 16 March 2018 at 1.30pm

Minutes:

The next meeting will be held on Friday 16 March 2018 at 1.30pm.