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Venue: Chairman's Office - Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4ER. View directions
Welcome and Introductions
Councillor Barker welcomed the panel and introductions were made.
Appointment of Chairman
Councillor Barker was appointed Chairman of the panel.
Councillor Sell was very grateful to have been invited to attend the meeting to discuss the motion on Reducing Plastic Waste from the Full Council meeting on 9 October 2018.
The motion asked the Waste Strategy Panel to consider:
I. ways in which single issue plastics used by the Council can be replaced with sustainable or reusable alternatives where practicable
II. How the Council can play its role in helping to educate members of the public about plastic waste,
III. The provision of public drinking fountains across Uttlesford and encouraging a culture of refillable bottles, to promote health, reduce litter and cut the use of plastic an
IV. How to use the links we have with businesses in Uttlesford to encourage them to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and encourage participation in refill schemes in town centres
V. Lobbying for a plastic bottle deposit return scheme and support for the campaigns from Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Reloop.
Councillor Barker asked the Waste and Recycling Officer what Uttlesford District Council (UDC) had in place currently.
The Waste and Recycling Officer introduced the panel to the ‘Waste Awareness Plan for Uttlesford District 2018-2024’, and spoke about a number of current and future initiatives. Both documents are appended to these minutes.
Councillor Sell was very pleased that there was a plan and initiatives in place. He suggested that the Waste and Recycling Officer speak with UDC’s Economic Development Officer, Simon Jackson in relation to getting local businesses on board with some of the initiatives. The Waste and Recycling Officer said that she was also going to be speaking with UDC’s Senior Health Improvement Officer in relation to increasing awareness and initiatives internally.
The Waste and Recycling Officer said that there were to be a number of awareness articles in the ‘Uttlesford Life’ publication in the lead up to and over Christmas focussing on ‘saying no to single use plastics’ and unrecyclable wrapping paper.
The Waste and Recycling Officer had also met with the ‘Saffron Walden against climate change’ group in an unofficial manner and spoke about ‘waste busters’.
Councillor Barker said that there has been a popular misconception that when it came to initiatives in Uttlesford that ‘we didn’t need help’, being an affluent area, however this led to UDC being left behind and it was important that UDC was supported by Essex County Council
Councillor Wells spoke about a group called ‘DIGIT’ in Dunmow, and Councillor Sell said that contact needed to be made with community groups. He also advised that the Saffron Walden Town Council had been doing some work around plastics.
The Waste and Recycling Officer said that she had been carrying out ‘The problem with plastics workshops’ in schools. The workshop was suitable for all ages and the whole school benefits and that it was a way to help get the recycling message home to parents.
Councillor Wells asked how recycling rates were measured and monitored.
Councillor Barker said that it was anecdotal from the crews.
The panel discussed the apparent apathy to recycling in the rural community. As well as visiting schools, the panel discussed approaching older groups like the Women’s’ Institute and the University of the Third Age.
Councillor Sell offered to be the link to the Stansted Business Forum.
The Operations Manager discussed the possibility of offering trade waste recycling and waste collection, as well as the possibility of adding rural small businesses to the domestic rounds for collection. This could be more cost effective in some cases.
Councillor Barker told the panel about the new innovative way in which Eddington in Cambridge dealt with its waste from a recent visit to the development. It was discussed that whilst it was impossible to retrofit such a system, new initiatives could be installed in new developments at the point of building. This would mean that waste management would have to be on the planning agenda for new developments.
The Waste and Recycling Officer then ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Councillor Barker asked about littering, and focussed on the main ‘entrances to the district’ being littered with waste from the fast food outlets that border the district.
The panel discussed that littering is a poorly reported and policed area with few fines being issued. Fly tipping is on the increase and that this was a national trend. The Operations Manager said that this was commercial, harder to deal with and was organised crime.
Councillor Barker said that if the district’s verges were looking well maintained that perhaps littering would occur less.
The Operations Manager said that the business website was about to be relaunched and could be used as an information source for businesses with waste disposal queries.
The panel discussed the new developments and the strain on collection crews to collect additional waste with fewer resources. The increased revenue from council tax was disproportionate to the costs. Councillor Barker said that this was why it was important to get big new developments right at the beginning.
Councillor Sell said that this needs to be influenced at the planning stages of development.
Councillor Barker said that the Panel should meet again in March 2019, Democratic Services Officer to arrange with the Operations Manager.
The Panel said they would like a report to be presented to Cabinet in December, which the Operations Manager and the Waste and Recycling Officer would prepare.
The Waste and Recycling Officer will be going out with recycling crews to look at levels of contamination.
There would be a press release advising of the ‘Christmas Closure’ for waste crews and that Easter next year had already been identified in terms of disruption to collections.