Kent partnership bins waste to advance resource agenda

The Kent Waste Partnership has signalled its clear intention to focus on maximising the value from residents' waste after announcing a name change to the Kent Resource Partnership (KRP) at its annual conference in Canterbury last week.

Councillor Paul Barrington-King, the KRP’s chairman, together with portfolio holders from all of Kent’s 13 local authorities have issued a joint statement promising to work with public and private sector organisations to move the resource agenda forward through an “advanced resource partnership”.

The advanced resource partnership envisaged builds on a recent report from the Local Government Association’s Wealth from Waste report, which identifies the important role of local government in producing examples of excellence.

“The oft-spoken phrase ‘waste as a resource’ must go beyond an interesting philosophical national debate to being a state of mind, and organisational culture that guides strategic decisions, our services and measures of our success,” the joint statement said.

Councillor Barrington-King told the audience of 100 industry experts, drawn from the public and private sector, that the focus on “advanced” meant that councils and businesses should question whether a third or more of valuable resources going to landfill was still acceptable.

“The KRP believes ‘advanced’ partnerships should have an overall of 80% recycling and recovery as a minimum, and ideally as close to zero untreated waste to landfill as possible – if they wish to be called ‘advanced’,” he said.

The Improvement & Efficiency Social Enterprise (IESE) is about to work with the 50 plus existing “waste” partnerships through its National Waste & Resource Partnership Forum to finalise the characteristics of an advanced resource partnership and will assist early adopters.

“The KRP has started a debate that many partnerships will wish to take part in,” said IESE director David Greenfield. “Becoming an advanced resource partnership means setting a clear direction for high quality achievements by 2020, and committing to meet them.”

The KRP has suggested that the new partnership’s characteristics embrace the challenges of whole cost approaches to managing costs to taxpayers; greater openness on end destinations of recyclates; high recovery rates of which recycling/composting has to be the number one treatment option, supporting materials security, and green economic growth.

Nick Warburton

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