Two or more councils will be able to apply for government permission to transfer waste disposal, collection or street cleaning operations to a statutory Joint Waste Authority, following an amendment to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the change during the Bill's second reading in the House of Commons.
The Environment Department (DEFRA) said it will “achieve better-integrated and cost-effective waste services” by strengthening councils’ hands when negotiating new contracts with waste management companies. It will also spread the cost for new infrastructure and encourage savings through economies of scale.
Local Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said the new powers would be “particularly important in shire areas,” which have a two-tier structure of local government, “to ensure waste collection and disposal are joined up.”
The Innovation Forum, a group of high-performing authorities, said joint working on waste could save £150 million in the shire areas alone.
The Bill is one of several proposals in the Department of Communities and Local Government's Local Government White Paper. The department published its implementation plan to deliver the proposals on Monday.