News briefs from Local Authority Waste & Environment magazine

Proposals to divert biodegradable waste from landfill; a new voice for composting in the UK; and reactions to the Environment Agency's consultation on monitoring leachate, groundwater and surface water at landfill sites.

Biodegradable waste

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have developed a joint proposal on how to achieve diversion targets for biodegradable waste under the EU Landfill Directive.

In a joint letter to Environment Minister Michael Meacher, both associations asserted their overwhelming support for Option 4 in the Government’s Limiting Landfill consultation document (see related story) – allocation of targets to waste disposal authorities (WDA). The mechanism developed by the ESA and the LGA has five main points:

  • the Government to allocate diversion targets at a regional level by individual WDAs
  • apportionment of targets to be negotiated by individual WDAs
  • local authorities to prepare statutory integrated waste strategies, which they then submit to the Department of Environment, Transport & the Regions (DETR) for evaluation
  • the Government should provide funding for the strategies, once they have been approved by DETR
  • Statutory Waste Local Plans should be reviewed in the light of the strategies

Merger of composting organisations

A single, united voice for the composting industry in the UK was formed on 1 April, with the merger of the expertise and membership of both The Composting Association and the National Compost Development Association (NCDA).

The new body will continue to be called The Composting Association. Michael Meacher has endorsed the move, which Professor Ed Stentiford, chairman of the NCDA, said “will be a significant step forward in helping the composting industry meet the challenges of the new decade”.

Jonathan Surridge, chairman of The Composting Association confirmed that: “The new association will continue to build on its past successes and the Directorate is keen to ensure that all areas of composting are represented”. To facilitate the merger, the association has moved to new offices in Wellingborough, and has recruited new staff under chief executive, Dr Jane Gilbert.

Landfill leachate monitoring

The consultation document issued by the Environment Agency on monitoring landfill leachate, groundwater and surface water at landfill sites has received a cautious welcome from the Institute of Wastes Management (IWM).

Overall, the document has been well received by the industry, particularly as it is seen to be bringing together major aspects of site monitoring, but IWM is concerned that there is no indication within the document of implementation timetables and also suggests that the reporting format should be standardised.

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