Agenda and minutes

South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership Joint Executive Committee
Friday, 15th June, 2018 1.30 pm

Venue: Whickham Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Rosalyn Patterson Email: 

No. Item


Election of Chair


RESOLVED    -           That the Joint Executive Committee agreed that the

                                    Chair for 2018/19 would be Councillor Linda Green.



Election of Deputy Chairs


RESOLVED    -           That the Joint Executive Committee agreed that the Vice

                                    Chairs for 2018-19 would be Councillor Mark Walsh and

Councillor Amy Wilson.



Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor M Walsh, Councillor D Waller and Andrew Whitaker and Chris Fairhurst.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 116 KB

The Joint Executive Committee is asked to approve the minutes of its last meeting held on 16 March 2018.


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2018 were agreed as a correct record.



Declarations of Interests


No declarations of interest were received.



RWTC Contract Performance

Presentation by Anna Bell, Regional Manager, Suez


The Joint Executive Committee received an update from Anna Bell, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK on residual waste treatment contract performance for 2017-18.


It was noted that overall there had been 190,144.46 tonnes of contract waste from the three local authorities, with 58,663.82 tonnes from Gateshead, 49,886.82 tonnes from South Tyneside and 81,593.82 tonnes from Sunderland. This was marginally behind forecast. However, 100% diversion from landfill had been achieved.


As far as energy from waste performance was concerned 296,854.50 tonnes overall had been processed and performance was considered to be good. There had been 190,820 MWh generated and 168,913MWh exported to the national grid which was sufficient to power 30,000 homes.


One of the milestones which had been reached was that the millionth tonne of waste had been processed since service commencement.


Health and safety performance was reported to be exceptional with no serious occurrences. Near misses had been reported and put right and there was a downward trend in accidents.


There had been one permit breach which had been associated with the waste transfer facility at Campground but this had in fact related to a blocked drain on Springwell Road.


Over the year there had been a lot of community engagement work with community liaison groups such as Campground and Jack Crawford House and feedback had been very positive regarding the visitor and education centre activities with a significant number of visits taking place.


In terms of targeted recruitment and training 71% of the Residual Waste Treatment contract support employees are residents of South of Tyne and Wear area and all posts are advertised in the South of Tyne and Wear area through the partner authorities. A review of opportunities for apprenticeships has also taken place to see how these can be brought into the waste transfer stations.


Contract challenges for 2018-19 are around improving recycling performance; promoting “right waste”, “right bin”; reducing blockages at EfW and ensuring all waste is treated correctly e.g. WEEE, batteries.



RESOLVED                That the Joint Executive Committee noted the information presented.



Waste Awareness and Recycling Education in South Tyne and Wear

Presentation by Stephen Armstrong, Rachael Courtney, Groundwork North East and Cumbria


A presentation was given to the Committee on waste and recycling education in South Tyne and Wear by Stephen Armstrong and Rachael Courtney, Groundwork North East.


Stephen updated the Committee on the position relating to the Visitor and Education Centre project which had been running for four years now and has a full time dedicated officer, Wendy Fail, to support work with community groups and schools. The centre itself has a design which is certified as respecting the environment. A wide range of activities are co-ordinated at the Centre which hosts a number of community and school groups and these are often curriculum linked. The Centre has proved really successful with 150 / 200 school sessions per year equating to approximately 3 to 4 a week. The Centre also created a garden with a greenhouse made out of bottles from the Great North Run.


The Committee was provided with a case study of the work carried out by the Centre with St Mary’s RC School in Sunderland. The School carried out waste audits with their eco-group and managed to reduce waste in their classroom and kitchen through simple advice. In the kitchen waste was reduced from 260 Kilo per year to 75 kilo per year and in the classrooms waste was reduced from 154 kilo to 40 Kilo’s. Some of the actions leading to this drop in waste were having smaller amounts of the right food for lunch; having cutlery in the right place so it did not end up in the bin; waste free Wednesdays and carefully planned lunches.


Rachael updated the Committee on the Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) project. The aim of the project was to engage with children and residents to reduce WEEE through a range of different mechanisms and built on the 2016 project in North Tyne & Wear.

There was a need for the project as it was found that there was not a great deal of public knowledge on how to manage batteries and WEEE etc. The project uses educational activities and is community and school driven using venues such as libraries and museums / road shows and competitions.


Rachael advised that in Springwell Village, Sunderland they had engaged members of the Ladybird Group and held an amnesty event where 45 local residents dropped off small WEEE following the event.


Work has been carried out primarily with primary schools via assemblies and has involved activities such as making electricity out of potatoes. The battery competition with a £500 cash prize for schools has proved popular with schools as have amnesty events in schools as a way of getting parents engaged.


Targets – see slide


Future plans – see slide


The Committee noted that recycling batteries is a big issue as these tend to be put in general bins and queried how feasible it would be to have recycling collections for batteries. Colin advised that whilst it would be feasible the cost to authorities would be prohibitive and so authorities should instead be promoting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Report of Tony Alder, Project Director, South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership (attached)


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



2017/18 year end performance was reported and it was noted that once again residual waste treatment contract targets were exceeded.


It was also highlighted that the exercise to investigate the potential opportunity to refinance the debt associated with the RWTC continues to progress.


Further discussions with representatives from the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), STWER and Willis Towers Watson insurers involving the joint insurance cost report associated with the RWTC were ongoing and the Committee would be updated on the position at relevant milestones.


The total amount of materials collected by each authority during 2017-18 broken down between the paper collected separately in the inner box and the comingled materials collected in the main section of the blue bin was reported. It was noted that in Gateshead and South Tyneside, overall recycling tonnages have dropped compared to the previous year.


There has been an increase in the amount of comingled recycling collected in Sunderland which can be attributed to the introduction of fortnightly refuse collections in April 2017.


Paper tonnages continue to reduce year on year for all three partner authorities and this reflects the national trend.


The latest performance figures were also reported for 2018/19 and it was noted that Beach Street HWRC recycling performance has reduced as a result of fortnightly refuse collections in Sunderland in April 2017. This has resulted in more residents taking their residual waste to the HWRC which cannot be recycled and has also impacted on the Campground performance.

It was also reported that all three partner authorities had recommenced garden waste kerbside collection services in March / April 2018 and there has been a recent issue with the quality of garden waste on the Gateshead contract highlighted by the contractor. This has been due to contamination from HWRC sites not kerbside collections and the Partnership have been liaising with Suez to ensure this situation




RESOLVED    -           That Joint Executive Committee noted the contents of the






Communications Update



A presentation was given to the Committee on local, national and local authority waste-related stories that have been in the media.


It was noted that a report to the Local Government Association (LGA)’s economy and environment board has highlighted that the additional sorting of mixed paper that would be needed to reduce contamination levels for export to China would cost one unnamed council an extra £500,000 a year and another has stated that current low paper prices would see it lose £3million a year.


Paper, card and plastic make up 46% of dry mixed recycling collected by local authorities. However, since China’s restrictions took effect earlier this year, the average price of mixed paper has fallen from £93 to £10 per tonne. However, around half of the 407,000 tonnes of recovered paper exported in January 2018 went to new markets in India, Vietnam and Indonesia with the remainder sent to China.


The LGA has indicated recycling the material in the UK instead would be problematic as there was little robust evidence on the capacity of the UK recycling industry to recycle more material collected from households.


The sheer number of plastics used in packaging makes it difficult for councils to sort for recycling impacting on council’s negotiating new waste collection and disposal contracts as supplier are unwilling to take 100% of the risk and therefore it would be likely to be split with councils.


MEPs in the European Parliament have recently backed ambitious and binding recycling targets set out in the EU’s revised Circular Economy Package meaning that member states will be required to recycle 55% of municipal waste collected by 2025. This will rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035.


The new package was agreed by the European Council in December after Defra previously indicated it supported the Council in agreeing the revised proposals and targets. This means that the targets will be adopted by the UK through the EU Withdrawal Bill as part of Brexit arrangements.

Defra has recently announced that David Rutley MP has been temporarily appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary for State whilst Theresa Coffey recovers from a period of illness. The role will be unpaid and will be in addition to Mr Rutley’s existing post as government whip. Mr Rutley is a former senior executive at Asda and worked as special advisor to the treasury, cabinet officer and ministry of agriculture in the last conservative government.


At the end of May, SUEZ launched its manifesto for resource productivity called “A vision for England’s long-term resources and waste strategy” which it believes forms the basis of a comprehensive strategy that could see £9 billion added to the UK economy. The manifesto champions a move away from a throw-away society to a circular economy advocating that materials consumed should be viewed as precious resources that can be re-captured, re-used and recycled and suggests the UK government has a golden opportunity to kick start a resource revolution when we leave the EU.


The strategy also includes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee will  be held on Friday 21 September 2018 at 1.30 pm


The next meeting will be held on Friday 21 September 2018 at 1.30pm.