31 August 2004

LARAC welcomes inclusion of re-use in council indicators

LARAC has welcomed proposals to include re-use in the local authority Best Value Performance Indicators for sustainable waste management.

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee said it is keen to work with government to develop an indicator to measure the amount of materials being re-used.

But, the Committee said a clear and consistent methodology would need to be developed to measure the re-use, and said it was also keen to establish which materials would be included within the indicator.

Carole Taylor, who co-ordinated LARAC's response as a member of the Committee's policy team, said: “LARAC supports the introduction of a BVPI for re-use in order to recognise and measure the contribution that re-use is making to more sustainable waste management. However, a number of members have raised concerns over how amounts will be measured to ensure consistency in reporting.”

The Committee was responding to the government consultation on proposed changes to the Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI), which measure local authority performances on municipal waste recycling.

The Committee said some of its members also favoured home composting being recognised within the BVPIs. LARAC said this could be possible either within existing indicators or as a new BVPI, but warned that it needed a “robust method for calculating the amount of material diverted by this method”.

Materials
But LARAC said it was “less keen” on the proposal for councils to submit to Defra a breakdown of the amount of each material they are recycling. Such an approach could lead to the setting of material specific targets for household waste, it said, something that LARAC opposes (see letsrecycle.com story).

And, requiring councils to record the materials they are recycling would also make it difficult for those authorities carrying out co-mingled collections, it said.

It said in its response that its “overriding concern” was that any extra reporting of data by councils “does not become unnecessary and onerous”. LARAC believes any additional data requirements should be included in existing reporting approaches, such as the new online Wastedataflow system.

And, it urged the government to bring BVPIs in line with the Household Waste Recycling Act, which requires local authorities to provide kerbside recycling collections of at least two materials for at least 90% of their households by 2010.

“LARAC would also take the opportunity to bring BVPIs in line with proposed reporting requirements of the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003, thereby reducing the reporting burden on local authorities.”

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