A review of statutory and other funding sources
Alex Green of FareShare argues that Defra's new BREW fund conspicuously overlooks community schemes to divert food waste from landfill.
The removal of funding for initiatives that focuses on waste prevention, recycling and the use of energy from waste from the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) in 2004 has put enormous pressure on organisations that had benefited from this funding.
Many of the network of food redistribution projects that make up FareShare, the national food charity, had received funding from LTCS, and while it was by no means the only source of income, it did provide funds and indeed recognition of projects which focus on waste prevention; in FareShare's case by ensuring that food, which is still fit to be eaten, is used to have a social impact by supplying it to local charities to support their work with homeless and other disadvantaged people.
FareShare, as with other prevention, reuse and recycling initiatives, found themselves looking towards Government to direct them to other potential sources of funding to replace that lost. Initially it seemed that there was a clear replacement of support. As part of the changes to the LTCS, HM Treasury allocated any future increases of the Landfill Tax Credit (now £15 but set to rise to £35) to a new fund (Business Resource Efficiency and Waste - BREW) managed by DEFRA. This optimism was unfortunately short lived when on review it was clear that FareShare was not eligible in any of the very broad areas that the new scheme would fund.
Encouragingly we now have very good, open dialogue with representatives from DEFRA. While this does not mean access to funding as yet it does mean we can take part in debates for future developments.
A number of other government grant programmes were suggested for FareShare to approach; the following highlights the range we have approached and how and why we are not eligible:
1) HM Treasury states that approximately £47 million will continue to be made available through a revised LTCS for spending on local environmental and community projects.
2) The Waste Implementation Programme works in partnership with local authorities to achieve a step-change in the way they manage their waste
3) Paul Boateng, when Chief Secretary at HM Treasury role, acknowledged the good work carried out by FareShare and also recognises that the community sector plays a "vital role" in sustainable waste management.
4) The community sector provides opportunities for greater social inclusion through employment and training programmes to get people into work
5) DEFRA suggestion that the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) programme are not the only source of funding for community groups
6) Environmental Funding Programmes
a) Defra Waste and Resources Research Programme:
Average grant will be approx. £150k and main focus is partnership working across different sectors and delivering 6 out of 8 of the main objectives of the R&D Strategy (the other two will be the focus of future funding rounds)
FareShare fits into two categories:
'Understanding the socio-economic benefits of recycling at a local or regional level':
Any research briefs submitted were meant to address new issues and not be concerned with existing areas of work. We could not apply because any research we want to undertake would be relevant to our existing areas of work.
We therefore decided not to apply for this money because we do not have the resources to undertake this research at the present time and also we do not want to be doing research for the sake of it. It is the practical work for which we require investment and support.
'Uncovering market opportunities outside of WRAP's remit':
Expressions of interest have not been called for yet
b) Defra Community Sector Support Programme:
FareShare could not apply for this because it was only for organisations operating within the municipal waste sector.
c) Defra Environmental Action Fund (EAF)
FareShare would have possibly been eligible for funding under this programme, but 50% match funding was needed and it was not possible to source this match funding before the deadline, given that the fund was announced in August, at the same time as we were writing our Community Fund bids.
d) Big Lottery Fund Community Recycling and Economic Development (CRED) Programme
FareShare cannot apply for this funding because it is only for organisations that deal with household waste through increasing the amount and range of materials diverted away from final disposal and increasing the number of households participating in waste recycling, reuse and compost projects.
e) Recycling Credits
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have the option to pay recycling credits to third parties (businesses or community groups) collecting waste for recycling.
FareShare is not eligible for these credits however because we deal with commercial waste.
f) Social, Economic and Environmental Development (SEED) Programme
This programme closed in September 2003
g) Defra Waste Implementation Programme
This programme consists of a number of elements, including the Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund being administered by WRAP and their Retailer Initiative, designed to help reduce household food and packaging waste originating from the retail sector (i.e. supermarkets). The Retailer Initiative does not, however, address the minimisation of waste at source (i.e. within the manufacturing and retail chain)
Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund
FareShare is not eligible for any funding because it is only for projects dealing with minimising household waste that has originated from the retail sector, not the retail sector's waste.
However, the WRAP website acknowledges that 'reducing food waste at source will help with the UK's compliance' of the various targets for the reduction of waste going to landfill set by the government.
h) London Recycling Fund's Economic Development/Infrastructure Building Programme
This programme has recently opened, with the aim of 'encouraging projects that support the development of sustainable enterprise within the reuse, processing and reprocessing sector in London'. However, FareShare does not fit into their funding criteria because we do not deal with municipal waste.
i) Defra's Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Programme
The funding principles for the programme are:
Funding has already been allocated to a number of projects including the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) and Envirowise. Defra anticipates that most of the objectives for the programme will be delivered through existing Government delivery agents and we have been told by various Defra officials that we do not offer the scale of diversion that is needed for funding.
The funding programme will be officially launched from April 2005, but we do not anticipate being able to access funds from this source, on the advice of Defra officials.
We have a number of letters from various Defra and HM Treasury officials stating that we do not fit in with any of their priorities for funding, given that our service does not offer the 'value for money' that other waste minimisation techniques do.
HM Treasury's own report, undertaken on their behalf by Integrated Skills, recognises that there is insufficient recognition of the waste issues arising from food in the retail and catering sectors, and especially amongst Small and Medium Size Enterprises, and that targeted grants aimed at involving the voluntary and community sectors should be considered a high priority option for the recycling of landfill tax revenue.
There has been no evidence of these grants being made available to FareShare, which meets all of the priorities embodied in the report, namely:
In conclusion, a service that presents society with economic, social and environmental benefits has been left unsupported by lack of Government vision and appreciation.
By Alex Green, Marketing and Fundraising Director, FareShare.
Tel: 020 7394 2462
Marketing & Fundraising Director
3 June 2005
Tel. 020 7394 2462
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