Venue: This meeting is being held remotely click here
Contact: Helen Conway Email: email@example.com
Election of Chair
Election of Deputy Chairs
The Joint Executive Committee is asked to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2020 were agreed as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were received
The Committee received a report on the latest position regarding the Residual Waste Treatment Contract and other ancillary waste joint contracts and activities managed by South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership (STWWMP).
The 2019/20 year end contract year performance was reported and across the contract year service availability was strong with plant availability 94.26% and turbine availability 93.11%. 89% of the 194,881 MWh of electricity generated by Lines 4 & 5 was exported to the National Grid.
Both the contractual recycling and recovery performance targets were exceeded and the unprocessed landfill diversion rate was once again 100%.
No environmental issues were reported during 2019/20 contract year and all Incinerator Bottom Ash samples returned compliant results.
No further progress was reported with SUEZ’s potential construction of a sixth EfW Line at Haverton Hill.
The exercise to replace the Debt Service Reserve Account (DSRA) with a contingent Debt Service Reserve Facility (DSRF) is still progressing.
The third Joint Insurance Cost Review (JICR) was previously submitted by Willis Towers Watson and reviewed by STWWMP. Initial indications are that due to movements in the insurance market in relation to our technology the position is not as good as it has been previously. A response from STWER to the feedback previously provided is still awaited.
The Committee were advised that all three of the WTS were available for the entire 2019/20 contract period. Recycling outputs from the sites include segregated street sweepings, wood, scrap metals.
Routine maintenance of buildings, plant and control systems was undertaken as scheduled at all three transfer stations during the year.
The RWTC affords provision for SUEZ to help to improve local prosperity across the partnership area by promoting vacant posts within their facilities. Local vacancies are circulated to partner authority economic development services for circulation to their client bases. Vacancies are also highlighted at the Jack Crawford House and Campground Community Liaison Groups enable opportunities to be circulated across community contacts.
STWWMP remains committed to an ongoing programme of community education and engagement, managed by Groundwork North East & Cumbria (GNEC) at the visitor and education centre, the energy from waste facility, and through outreach activities held in local schools and community settings.
The final results of the 2019/20 programme were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and the remaining activities that had been scheduled for late March were cancelled immediately.
Therefore, between April 2019 and March 2020, a total of 6,268 local residents, children & young people, and community group members took part in waste awareness events, activities and site visits to different facilities. Of this, 5,872 were held through outreach sessions in local schools and community settings.
Recently, the Visitor and Education Centre co-ordinator employed by GNEC submitted their resignation to take up an employment opportunity elsewhere. STWWMP are discussing with SUEZ and GNEC how a recruitment process to identify a suitable replacement can be undertaken in due course within the current pandemic situation.
No Community Liaison Group meetings were held during February or March.
The Joint Committee were advised ... view the full minutes text for item 89.
The JEC received a report which provided an overview of household waste service delivery and associated challenges in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Since the beginning of the national lockdown and the subsequent ongoing restrictions on all aspects of daily life, each of the partner authorities have faced numerous challenges in ensuring that as many as possible of the range of waste services that are usually available can continue to be delivered to residents.
However, despite such challenging times, the team effort and professionalism demonstrated by the partner authorities – fully supported by the different external waste contractors and advice and guidance from other organisations across the waste sector – has meant that all residents across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland have continued to receive their key waste collection services. This has enabled the statutory kerbside services, such as household residual and recycling collections, to be maintained without interruption. This continues to be achieved whilst ensuring that the health and safety of all staff and members of the public is of paramount importance and the highest priority in the ongoing service delivery.
During the initial stages of the lockdown the majority of residents were required to stay at home, so the amount of waste that households presented for collection increased. Since Easter, analysis indicates an average increase in recycling tonnages presented by households is 24% in Gateshead, 30% in South Tyneside and 28% in Sunderland. Despite this, the support received from contractors ensured that all waste transfer stations and facilities, both material recovery facilities, and the energy from waste facility continued to accept waste and operate as close to as normal as possible, with no impact on service delivery.
Mechanisms have been put in place by all authorities across the partnership to ensure staff safety, the temporary suspension of services where necessary and the introduction of alternative service delivery models. However, as lockdown eases, services are slowly being re-introduced across the partnership.
The challenges that the partner authorities have faced during the pandemic are not uncommon and most other local authorities around the country have also had to focus on maintaining statutory waste services.
Alongside local authority residual waste collection services, the national energy-from-waste (EfW) availability has remained consistent during pandemic, as have waste transfer stations for the different waste streams.
Across the country Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) have seen greater levels of disruption in comparison to residual waste treatment options such as EfW, but almost
Four in five MRFs are now reporting to be operating as normal.
Similarly, 79% of Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are now reporting minor or moderate levels of disruption to services (92% of which have identified operational capacity of 30-40%), with only 3% remaining closed. In mid April, 92% of HWRCs across the country were closed.
By mid-May, 15% of local authorities were experiencing ‘no impact’ on operational staffing levels. 78% of local authorities reported a ‘less than 20% reduction on staffing levels, a similar level to the ... view the full minutes text for item 90.
The JEC received a report advising of the government response to the recent Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry on the implications for local authorities of the Resources and Waste Strategy.
The JEC were advised that some of the Committee’s key findings from the inquiry included:
· Concerns by reports from local authority representatives that they were not sufficiently consulted in advance of the publication of the Strategy, particularly around recycling targets, financial implications and the ‘desirability’ of the proposed changes to waste management services.
· An agreement for the proposal to implement an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme so that producers bear a greater responsibility for the disposal costs of the materials that they introduce into the waste system. The Committee also recommended that the government commits to undertaking a review of funding levels at least every two years, providing top-up funding to local authorities if this becomes necessary.
· An acknowledgement that despite ‘strong opposition’ from many to the incineration of waste, producing energy-from-waste has a role to play within the waste hierarchy. Consequently, an incineration tax should not be introduced in the short term, as this would simply increase costs for local authorities and council tax payers. However, the Committee considers that the government is right to keep an incineration tax under review, but only insofar as it will encourage local authorities to prioritise long-term investment in the recycling infrastructure and must not lead to a transfer of waste from incineration to landfill.
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) provided evidence to the inquiry in both written and in person at the select committee.
The JEC were advised that the government’s response to the report acknowledged that there is a balance to be struck between local decision making and what is considered necessary to increase the quantity and quality of recycling nationally. However, they disagreed with the Committee’s conclusion that the Strategy has sought to dictate from the centre what is best decided at local level.
Therefore, whilst government highlighted that local decision making is key to effectively implementing their reforms, they also highlighted that in recent decades, various EU Directive have imposed top-down requirements on local authorities and how local waste services are provided. Furthermore, they also emphasised that Parliament has also previously legislated directly to set minimum requirements on household recycling.
Close working with local authorities to implement reforms will continue through Defra and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and government confirmed its commitment to fund any new burdens on local government in line with the New Burdens Doctrine.
The key responses from Government included details on:
· Food Waste
· Deposit Return Scheme
· EPR Funding
The JEC were advised that it is clear that the full impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will not be known for some time. There will however, be significant challenges that local authorities will continue to face for the foreseeable future in continuing to ensure that key services, such as waste management, can continue to be delivered ... view the full minutes text for item 91.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee will be held on Friday 11 September 2020 at 1.30pm
The next meeting will be held on Friday 11 September 2020 at 1.30 pm – venue to be confirmed in due course.