Flintshire Council to Approve Consultation on Strategy to Improve Recycling Rates
FLINTSHIRE councillors are looking to approve a consultation into a strategy to improve recycling rates following failures to meet targets.
A cabinet meeting will look into a draft report on the Resources and Waste Strategy to meet targets and mitigate against the risk of fines, with councillors recommended to approve a consultation proposed for December.
The report explains: “The draft Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the strategic direction to reduce waste and exceed Welsh Government statutory recycling targets. Without action the Authority is at risk of circa £1.13m fines for failing to achieve these targets in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, as well as a further risk of similar fines in 2023/2024. The new Strategy demonstrates to the Minister our commitment to make change.
“This report seeks approval to undertake a consultation exercise on the draft Resources and Waste Strategy.”
The target for recycling rates was set at 64% but the council reported that it “continually missed the target” in the last three years. In 2024/25 the target is set to rise to 70%.
The report said: “The current recycling rate in Flintshire of 61.51% (2022/23) is well below the level required to achieve current and future targets.”
It added: “We have continually reported that the Council faces significant fines for not achieving the statutory recycling targets for 2021/22 and 2022/23 that we are likely to meet the same challenge for 2023/24.”
In the report, data from 2022/23 found that the council would need to divert 7,600 tonnes of material from the “residual waste stream to the existing kerbside recycling services” to achieve the 70% recycling target, and the compositional analysis shows that “13,410 tonnes of material in the residual waste bin could have been recycled using the existing services and, of this, 6,940 tonnes was food waste.”
It added: “Due to the current risk of infraction fines and inability to achieve statutory targets this has been highlighted as a strategic risk rated RED for the authority.”
A review in the food waste strategy earlier this year, and recommendations put forward to achieve the 70% target saw the cabinet decide not to make changes to the Waste Strategy, but undertake a “further period of monitoring” to see if it could be achieved through education and enforcement alone.
An action plan which included this approach, and “other opportunities” were presented to the Minister for Climate Change for consideration in the decision on whether to levy a fine. However, the action plan was not accepted by the Minister as being “sufficient to give assurance of the council’s approach in meeting the current and future targets”.
The Minister has not yet made a decision on the infraction fines for 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 and is also monitoring Flintshire’s performance in 2023/2024 closely.
A new Resources and Waste Strategy has been developed to address Flintshire’s performance and mitigate against the risk of fines while supporting residents and communities to recycle and embed long-term
behaviour change is at its “core”.
The report said: “It is clear that we cannot make the required changes alone and a collective effort is required. It is important that residents and our communities have the opportunity to shape proposals and therefore we recommend that a full consultation takes place on the draft Resources and Waste Strategy.
“It is proposed that the consultation will take place over a period of six weeks from 1st December 2023 until 12th January 2024. The consultation will take the form of a short online survey. Where access to the online survey is not possible, paper surveys will be provided and available.”
Discussions will be held at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, November 21.
By Emily Ash – Local Democracy Reporter
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