29 March 2021 by Robyn White

Essex joins with French groups on circular project

Essex county council is leading a cross-border project aiming to help local authorities in England and France transition to a circular economy.

The project, called Blueprint to a Circular Economy, will look to develop a set of strategies, policies and approaches that will give local authorities in England and France tools to increase recycling rates, reduce waste, and “create lasting behaviour change” among residents.

Essex will lead the €5.6 million scheme with a string of other partners in the UK and France

The project will run until June 2023.

Sam Kennedy, director of environment and climate action at Essex county council, said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this innovative project. Blueprint offers so many fantastic economic and environmental benefits to Essex residents.

“We are looking forward to engaging with these individuals when it comes to designing the Blueprint model, rolling out the training scheme and launching our behaviour change pilots.”

‘Efficient waste management’

The €5.6m scheme received €3.8m worth of funding by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, which works to support projects which have “sustainable cross border benefits”.

According to Essex county council, the model will help local authorities meet the EU’s waste recycling target of 65% by 2035.

Within Essex, the model could also help save money from more efficient waste management and higher recycling rates.

The project will involve partner organisations across the local government, higher education and private sectors

UK based partner organisations will include Brighton & Hove city council, EcoWise Ekodenge Limited and Kent county council.

In France, the project partners include the Morlaix Communauté, the local authority for a town in Brittany,  the engineering group of schools Institut polytechnique UniLaSalle, and the ESITC CAEN university.

Behaviour change

The project anticipates that 30 local authorities will implement the model, and that it will see around 78,000 residents in Northern France and Southern England participate in behaviour change programmes. Over 8,000 of these residents will be based in Essex.

The Blueprint project will also work to deliver a training programme to 2,000 individuals, aiming to help them secure jobs in the circular economy sector.

Overall, it is estimated that more than 600 individuals in Essex will benefit from this scheme.

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