News in brief (22/11/21)

With news on: GMB cancels Sheffield refuse strike; Scotland to implement sing-use plastic item ban; arc21 reiterates ‘waste crisis’ warning; and, Rotherham fly-tipper fined £134,000.


GMB cancels Sheffield refuse strike

The GMB Union announced on Friday (19 November) that a strike planned for refuse collectors was called off, after an agreement was reached on pay.

An ‘indefinite’ strike was meant to start today, before the deal was struck

According to the union, workers voted to accept a two-year offer from Veolia, which will see a 3% increase for year one – back dated to May – a one-off payment of £250 for each employee, with a further 3.5% increase for year two.

The indefinite strike was due to begin today, which the GMB said “would have had an impact on more than 200,000 homes across Sheffield over Christmas and the New Year”.

Lee Parkinson, GMB organiser, said it was “only right” that refuse collectors efforts during the pandemic were reflected in a payrise.


Scotland to implement sing-use plastic ban

Scotland will implement a ban on some single-use plastic items from June 2022.

The ban will apply to the following single-use items: plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks), plates, straws, beverage stirrers and balloon sticks; food containers made of expanded polystyrene; and cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids.

Lorna Slater, the Scottish circular economy minister, announced the measure last week

This came soon before the English government released a consultation on the banning single-use plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups, however there are no firm plans.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:“ We are turning promise into action and banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland. Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country.

“They litter our coasts, pollute our oceans and contribute to the climate emergency. That has to end and this ban will be another step forward in the fight against plastic waste and throwaway culture. This is another example of the sort of bold action that is needed if we are to deliver on the commitments that are being made at COP26.”


arc21 reiterates ‘waste crisis’ warning

arc21, the umbrella waste management group made up of six councils in Northern Ireland, has warned that work by councils and ratepayers “could be undone by a potential waste crisis”.

David Drysdale, the chair of arc21’s joint committee, raised concerns that should plans to develop an energy from waste (EFW) plant at Hightown Quarry in Mallusk fail, the environment will “be damaged, and both government and councils’ reputation for successfully delivering waste services could be undermined”.

Arc21 say the facility will improve council recycling rates by 5%-10%

arc21 submitted a planning application to build the EfW over seven years ago and it has since been met with controversy.

The plant has already been approved by three sets of professional planners, including the independent Planning Appeals Commission, however a final Ministerial decision is still outstanding.

Mr Drysdale said: “Given the global focus on climate change at COP26, it’s clear that we need to start taking decisions that deliver practical benefit. Until people stop producing so much rubbish, one of those areas is to find a better alternative to landfilling or exporting our waste overseas.

“arc21’s proposal for new facilities at Mallusk was developed specifically to meet the needs of local councils – they’ll reduce the impact waste has on the environment, provide financial certainty for ratepayers and bring us into line with the rest of Europe where c.500 EfWs have a tried and tested record of success”.


Rotherham fly-tipper fined £134,000

A fly-tipper who dumped rubbish around Rotherham and North East Derbyshire has been ordered to pay back £134,073, according to Rotherham metropolitan council.

Rotherham metropolitan council gave details of the fine

According to a statement from the council, Sheffield crown court heard that Horace Piggott benefitted by that amount through criminal activity; he was given three months to pay back the money or face a 15-month jail sentence.

According to the council, Mr Piggott advertised his waste collection services through leaflets using a number of false names.

Local residents paid for their waste to be collected, from which any valuable items such as scrap metal were removed and sold, before the remaining waste was fly-tipped in country lanes in Rotherham, North East Derbyshire and surrounding areas.

Rotherham council’s assistant director for community safety and street scene, Tom Smith, said: “This court result is down to the hard work of all the Council staff that have been involved in what is one of the largest joint operations of its kind.

“At the hearing in Sheffield Crown Court, the defence indicated that Horace Piggott would have to sell the house (13 Boiley Lane) in order to satisfy the Confiscation Order and it was suggested that this is likely to be by way of auction; however, it must be marketed at the market value. Horace Piggott is required to achieve the best possible price to satisfy the Court Order”.

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