Metropolitan waste authorities to be abolished

The six statutory joint waste disposal authorities established in the wake of the abolition of the metropolitan county councils are to be disbanded, Environment Minister David Trippier announced in a parliamentary answer in March.1

The six authorities were set up in 1986. Four are in London. The other two cover Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

Announcing the decision to abolish them, Mr Trippier said that they will shortly be sent notices of the Government's intention to direct them to establish separate waste disposal companies or, where they are intending to privatise their disposal operations, to propose a timetable for this. The divestment of their disposal operations is to be substantially complete by April 1993.

The reform is part and parcel of the general separation of the old waste disposal authorities' regulatory and operational functions by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, with their disposal operations being transferred to arms' length local authority waste disposal companies or the private sector.

Following these changes and the Government's proposal to establish an Environment Agency, no role for separate joint waste disposal authorities could be envisaged for the medium and long term, said Mr Trippier. None of the four London authorities are involved in regulation.

However, the Government has accepted both that their abolition should not put at risk existing beneficial contracts, and that primary legislation will be needed to carry out the reform smoothly. An early opportunity will be sought for the legislation, according to Mr Trippier.

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