Yorkshire councils developing ‘Northern Powerhouse’ waste strategy

Four South Yorkshire councils are joining forces to plan how to manage waste across the county, and have launched a regional consultation to hear from local people to help their strategy.

The South Yorkshire Waste Strategy (SYWS) vision is for the four councils (Sheffield City, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) to work together more closely, with the ultimate aim of reusing, recycling and recovering energy from 95 per cent of the region’s waste.

Yorkshire councils developing ‘Northern Powerhouse’ waste strategy
Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham (BDR) councils have jointly managed waste generated in the three boroughs for almost two decades. However, the group hopes that working closely with Sheffield City Council will be a key part of the ‘emerging Northern Powerhouse’ – the government’s proposal to link Northern cities and their surrounding areas to boost economic growth in the North.

South Yorkshire has a population of around 1.35 million, which generates over half a million tonnes of recycling, composting and non-recyclable household waste each year, requiring nearly 15 million general waste bin collections from over 565,000 households.

By pooling resources, the partnership says that much of this waste could be prevented, reused, recycled or composted, turning what people throw away into a resource to help grow the economy and protect and improve the environment.

The strategy, to be implemented from 2016-2021, will look at the long-term plans of managing waste and the ways that services and resources can be used more effectively across the region. It will not include, Sheffield City Council says, the day-to-day detail around household bin-collection services, which will continue to be planned at a local level.

Education and value for money priorities of strategy

The SYWS consultation document asks residents to assess five different priority areas for the strategy:

  • Priority A – encouraging and inspiring children and adults across the region to make less waste by reducing, reusing and recycling more;
  • Priority B – working together more closely to deliver value-for-money services;
  • Priority C – working to deliver and maintain a dependable and reliable service to all customers;
  • Priority D – exploring how technology can be used to improve recycling and waste services; and
  • Priority E – being proactive in influencing decision-making on waste at European, national and local level, and to drive investment into infrastructure within the Sheffield City Region economy.

The consultation document suggests that the partnership will provide opportunities to pool resources that offer value for money. An example of this, according to the councils, is the £77.4 million of private finance initiative funding towards a £750-million contract to build and run a new mechanical-biological treatment (MBT)facility in Rotherham secured by the BDR councils.

Priority ‘E’ drives the councils’ efforts to support investment in the region through infrastructure, having a say in local and national consultations and lobbying governments.

The consultation suggests that by acting as a regional partnership, the councils’ responses to government surveys would carry more weight than single council evidence, and would be able to pull for specific regional improvements.

The SYWS consultation, which was launched yesterday (6 June), closes on 31 July 2016. The results will be analysed and incorporated into a new SYWS, which will be launched in the autumn.

More information on the consultation is available at the BDR website, and more on how regional waste partnerships are pooling council resources to improve performance and save money is available in Resource’s feature article.