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Recycling: Standards

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress he has made on amending the performance indicator applicable to local councils in respect of recycling levels to reflect performance in terms of waste minimisation. (141320)

The recently published Waste Strategy 2007 put forward a range of measures to reduce waste arisings and build on recent improvements in recycling. A greater focus on waste prevention has been recognised through a new target to reduce the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted, from over 22.2 million tonnes in 2000 by 29 per cent. to 15.8 million tonnes in 2010, with an aspiration to reduce it to 12.2 million tonnes in 2020—a reduction of 45 per cent. This is equivalent to a fall of 50 per cent. per person (from 450 kg per person in 2000 to 225 kg in 2020).

Waste minimisation is not directly measured by any of the Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI). However, it is reflected in BVPI 84a, which measures kilograms of household waste collected per head of population. In addition, household waste sent for reuse, including items such as furniture delivered to civic amenity sites, would be excluded from the calculation of BVPI 82.

In October 2006, the Government published the local government White Paper, “Strong and Prosperous Communities”. This set out a new vision for delivering better public services through a rebalancing of the relationship between central Government, local government and local people. Local public service providers will be given more freedom to bring about the changes they want to see. The White Paper sets out a radical simplification of the local authority performance framework including fewer indicators and centrally set targets. This means that 2007-08 will be the final year of best value indicators and targets.

Indicators in the new framework will reflect national outcomes, to be agreed later this year in the comprehensive spending review 2007, which will be delivered through local area agreements. The future framework will enable local authorities to contribute to an overall waste outcome that leads us towards more sustainable management of waste in England, focused on minimising the amounts of municipal waste produced and landfilled.