Details of joint waste authorities emerge

DEFRA will provide three years funding to develop joint waste authorities, the Environment Department (DEFRA) has announced. This will amount to £500,000 for 2008/09, totals for further years have yet to be decided.

The announcement came in March, when DEFRA launched a consultation on proposals for joint waste authorities.1 It is also consulting on draft regulations and guidance.2, 3

DEFRA wants more joint waste authorities established to improve efficiency. Last year, the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act gave councils the power to establish such authorities (ENDS Report 385, p 54 ). The current consultation details how they should operate and what proposals for them should include. Councils will be allowed to transfer any combination of waste collection, waste disposal and street cleaning responsibilities to the authorities, it says.

Each authority must be run by a board of elected members from the councils. In last year’s waste strategy, DEFRA said decisions on "key issues" such as frequency of waste collections would have to be made by unanimous decision. However, it is now asking whether councils should be allowed to decide voting arrangements for such issues themselves.

The guidance explains how responsibilities under the landfill allowance trading scheme and local area agreements will tally with joint waste authorities. It also discusses how existing waste contracts can be transferred.

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