Council waste indicators to be streamlined under Defra review

Local authority waste performance indicators are to be reviewed as Defra looks to build a new set of environmental priorities to meet the Government's sustainable development agenda.

The Government has stated it wants to develop “real and measurable indicators to monitor sustainability across government” and that it will report its progress through a new set of national indicators, which will be also aligned with work on measuring the nation’s wellbeing under the Big Society agenda.

Currently 68 indicators fall under the sustainable development set, three of which relate to waste. These are: NI 191, to record the amount of residual waste produced per household; NI 192, to record the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting; and NI 193, which relates to the percentage of municipal waste landfilled.

Defra has announced it intends to streamline the set of 68 to be more manageable and accessible, which means some will be axed. It has proposed to focus on the “highest level indicator of each particular issue” – so for instance, on greenhouse gas emissions, the focus will be on total emissions and not emissions by sector.

What is being put forward is a three-tiered structure – a headline set of indicators that will effectively form a scorecard, supplementary indicators to provide a broader picture, and thematic indicators to provide a more detailed examination of issues surrounding a particular area of policy.

Defra is inviting feedback from key stakeholders to assess the existing set of indicators and to suggest which ones should be prioritised going forward. Comments will be accepted until 19 September, after which the department will refine its proposals prior to a formal public consultation in November.

To participate in Defra’s indicator survey, go here

Maxine Perella

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