£40 million for Welsh waste

Welsh Environment Minister Sue Essex has announced £40 million in new funding to implement Wales’ new waste strategy.

The funding is to assist the country’s 22 local authorities to implement the Welsh Assembly’s new waste strategy for Wales over the next three years by promoting increased recycling and composting as an alternative to landfills. The Assembly’s Wales Waste Strategy, which proposes combined recycling and composting targets for local authorities of 15% of domestic rubbish by 2003-04, rising to 40% by 2009-10, will be published shortly for consultation. The Environment Minister intends that the final strategy document will by be ready by spring 2002.

Currently, local authorities in Wales only recycle or compost about 5% of waste, compared with around 12% in England. Under the new strategy, grants will be allocated for:

  • the implementation of recycling and composting schemes for municipal waste, including the development and improvement of Civic Amenity sites;
  • the provision of education programmes to increases awareness within the general public and industry; and
  • the development of partnerships between local authorities as well as public, private and voluntary sectors to include development of processes and markets for recycling and composting.

The total allocated for 2001-2 is £3 million, but the Assembly has issued indicative figures of £11 million for 2002-3, rising to £22 million for 2003-4, with a total of £6.5 million over the three years retained for central use. Of this year’s funding, £1.5 million has been allocated to local authorities, £650,000 towards the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) (see related story), including the promotion of markets for recycled materials, and £500,000 for waste analysis.

“This three-year indicative funding programme is a first for Wales,” Essex commented. “It is an example of how the Assembly is working in partnership with local authorities to deliver a cleaner and better future for waste management. Local authorities will play a major part in the implementation of the Wales Waste Strategy and this additional funding from the Assembly will help councils ensure Wales meets its obligations under EU legislation and meet the Assembly’s targets for recycling and composting. Although we recognise these targets are challenging and exceed those proposed for local authorities in England, they have already been achieved or exceeded by some local authorities across Britain and elsewhere in Europe.”

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