Agenda and minutes

South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership Joint Executive Committee - Friday, 13th September, 2019 1.30 pm

Venue: Whickham Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Helen Conway Email: 

No. Item


Election of Chair



That the Joint Executive Committee agreed that the Chair for 2019/20 would be Councillor Linda Green (Gateshead)



Election of Deputy Chairs



That the Joint Executive Committee agreed that the Vice Chairs for 2019/20 would be Councillor Mark Walsh (South Tyneside) and Councillor Amy Wilson (Sunderland).



Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor D Waller (Sunderland) and Councillor M Walsh (South Tyneside).


Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The Joint Executive Committee is asked to approve the minutes of the meetings held on 15 March 2019 and 14 June 2019 respectively.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 15 March 2019 and 14 June 2019 respectively  were agreed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interests


No declarations of interest were received.


Resources & Waste Strategy Consultation Outcomes - DEFRA Responses



The Committee received a presentation on the DEFRA responses to the Resources & Waste Strategy Consultation.


Committee noted that in December last year, Government published the new national Resources and Waste Strategy, which aims to make the UK a world leader in resource efficiency and productivity and move away from a linear economy and towards a circular economy.


DEFRA then launched three inter-linked consultation exercises in February with a 12-week timeline for responses to be submitted. Committee agreed a joint partnership response to be submitted to each exercise on behalf of the partner authorities.


In late July this year, DEFRA published the overall results from the consultation exercises, and Committee were informed:


·         That the responses do not include further details of how the proposals will be implemented or funded,

·         And that further details and the regulatory framework will be released in further consultation exercises in 2020.




That the information be noted



That further updates be provided to Committee as more information is released





Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Report of the Project Director, South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership


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


The joint partnership team continues to undertake several waste management functions on behalf of the partner authorities including reviewing and verifying monthly contract reports, which detail materials processed and service issues. Once approved, invoices are processed and, where appropriate, apportioned between partner authorities within contractual timescales.


The Joint Committee were advised that the 2018/19 residual waste treatment contract reconciliation exercise is now complete. During the year, energy prices increased over and above the agreed ceiling price, which resulted in a £232,862.68 income sharing payment to partner authorities. This is the first payment that STWWMP has received since service commencement.


Appendix A which was appended to the main report highlights the latest 2019/20 contract year performance. During recent months, service availability has been strong with plant availability rising to 99.98% and turbine availability 97.61%.


The Joint Committee were also advised that the exercise to replace the Debt Service Reserve Account (DSRA) with a contingent Debt Service Reserve Facility (DSRF), is progressing. As a result of this change the shareholders of STWER will benefit from receiving cash significantly earlier than anticipated. This also means that STWWMP receives a share of this benefit, as the transaction falls within the scope of the re-financing provisions within the contract.


It has been agreed that STWWMP will support STWER to revise the funding arrangements in order to release the DSRA balance and that the STWWMP share of the gain is extracted through and ongoing reduction to the Unitary Charge. This reduction will be allocated to each authority using the cost sharing principles agreed in the Inter Authority Agreement.


The reduction to the Unitary Charge will generate revenue savings for each partner authority and is projected that the joint benefit will be £0.24m per annum and £4.8m over the remainder of the contract.


STWWMP continues to work closely with financial and legal advisors (Local Partnerships and Pinsent Mason) to implement the transaction. The costs of this support are funded prior to calculating and sharing the gain, meaning that STWWMP will be reimbursed for any professional fees that are incurred. The exercise is scheduled to be completed in September 2019.


Discussions with representatives from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), STWER, and Willis Towers Watson insurers involving the joint insurance cost reports associated with the RWTC are ongoing.


During the contract year 2019/20, no Environment Agency visits to the Waste Transfer Stations have taken place, no environmental breaches were reported, and no CCS scores were applied. All sites remain in Compliance Band A.


The Joint Committee were advised that the RWTC affords provision for SUEZ to help to improved local prosperity across the partnership area by promoting vacant posts within their facilities. The Economic Development Service at Gateshead Council continues to receive information on local vacancies, which are then cascaded to partner authorities for circulation to their client base.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.


Communications Update



A presentation was given to the Joint Executive Committee on National and Local Authority waste-related stories that have been in the media.


The Joint Executive was advised that, following his appointment as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced a cabinet reshuffle and that the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers has been appointed as Environment Secretary, replacing Michael Gove who has become Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.


The Environmental Services Association said that the Prime Minister must be bold in implementing and where possible accelerating the proposals set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy, whilst the head of policy and communications at the Chartered Institute of Waste Management said that the CIWM welcomes Theresa Villiers and that the sector has actively engaged with recent government policy developments and is keen for the momentum to be maintained by the new Secretary of State.


The Joint Executive Committee were advised that research commissioned by waste management firm Veolia highlighted that the proposed tax on all plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content could cost households 7p per week. The study found that one of the main reasons for not using recycled plastic is that virgin plastic costs less, with the price difference currently estimated to be around £500 per tonne. Therefore, the proposed tax would have to compensate for the price difference to make recycled plastic more competitive and calculated that the minimum tax level needed to make costs to industry similar would be £150 per tonne.


Veolia commented that using recycled content will enable an additional two million tonnes of packaging to be recycled in the UK, but there is not currently enough material recycled to feed this desire, and that the tax will support what the market demands, enable investment, and accelerate provision.


The Joint Executive Committee heard that previous government consultation had found that over 80% of people backed a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, 90% a ban on drink stirrers and 89% ban on cotton buds.


However, a Channel 4 FactCheck investigation had found that in order to back up its plans to ban these materials, the government used statistics based on a lack of data and research on the issue – which means that their justification for the ban relies on unverified assumptions. The investigation found that whilst there is no denying that a ban on plastic straws is likely to reduce the number entering the sea, there are no firm ideas about how much the reduction will be and when compared to global levels of plastic in the sea, the amount of straws entering from the UK barely registers on the scale.


The Joint Committee were also advised that fast food giant McDonald’s is disposing of its new paper straws in the general waste, after it emerged that they were not recyclable with its current waste services provider. McDonald’s say they are working towards a solution and that sending the straws to energy recovery is a temporary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.


Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee will be held on Friday 13 December 2019 at 1.30 pm


The next meeting will take place on Friday 13 December 2019 at 1.30 pm in the Whickham Room.