Agenda item

Update on Environment Act - impact on Local Authority

This report supports a Power Point presentation outlining the waste management elements of the Environment Act 2021 and associated consultations from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.



The Assistant Director for Operations and Public Protection provided the Committee with a presentation that outlined an update on The Environment Act 2021 and the impacts this had on the Council’s waste collection services.


In summer 2021, DEFRA released three consultations relating to recycling and the disposal of waste. The Council responded to the consultations and the results were awaited on two of the three.


The Committee were reminded of what the consultations included:


·       A framework for protecting and enhancing the natural environment through long-term, legally binding targets.

·       DEFRA required to set legally binding environmental targets by late 2022.

·       Main provisions relating to waste management

-       Improved consistency in recycling collections

-       Enhanced producer responsibility (EPR)

-       Deposit return schemes (DRS)

·       DEFRA consulted on proposals in summer 2021.

·       Results of consultations were expected early 2022.

·       EPR consultation response received – to be implemented in a phased manner from 2024.


The consistency in recycling with the most significant implications for districts related to:


·       Free of charge fortnightly garden waste collections during growing season.

·       Separate weekly food waste collections would become mandatory for all households by 2023.

·       Core set of recyclables to be collected separately (glass, plastic, metal and paper/card) by 2023/24.

·       Business premises will also have to separate their waste for collection.


The consultation response for Enhanced Producer Responsibility (EPR) was received on 26 March 2022:


·       Reforms to be implemented from 2024.

·       Producers to pay the costs of managing household packaging waste.

·       Payments to local authorities for collection of household packaging waste and “on the go” packaging disposed of in street bins (excludes littering).

·       Modulated fees to incentivise the use of recyclable packaging (from 2025 instead of 2024).

·       Mandatory takeback scheme for the collection and recycling of fibre-based composite cups (disposable coffee cups).

·       Mandatory labelling of packaging for recyclability with a single labelling format.

·       Annual packaging waste recycling targets to 2030.

·       Appointment of a Scheme Administrator.


One Member queried timescales of when the way waste is collected would change. It was suggested that the Council could encourage communities to home compost.


Clarification was sought on the garden waste collection and when a decision would be made on whether the Council would be obliged to collect garden waste free of charge.


A concern was made on what supermarkets and the industry were doing to reduce the amount of packaging used pre-consumer and whether the legislation supported this.


The Cabinet Member for Waste and Climate Change highlighted that if the Council had to collect garden waste as a statutory service, it would be of an increased cost, which could be up to double the current cost.


It was noted that figures were not specific, and the figures were just an estimate of the financial impact. More detailed, financial costings would be undertaken once the DEFRA response was published. It was highlighted that to implement The Environment Act could cost the Council up to £5m.


A query was raised on whether the Council had any communication with central government on timescales around the consultation.


It was confirmed that the consultation results were still awaited and this was a concern.




For the Cabinet Member for Waste and Climate Change to write a letter to DEFRA’s secretary of state to express the Council’s concerns about the outstanding consultation response.


It was reiterated that home composting should be encouraged for the residents of South Kesteven.


One Member noted that some residents may not have the time or willingness to compost. It was suggested that the Council could potentially find a way of composting it in-house.


The Assistant Director of Operations and Public Protection highlighted that the EPR element of the legislation related purely to household packaging waste and did not currently include the secondary packaging produced in shops themselves.


It was confirmed that the Council had information on the website in relation to composting and were supporters of ‘Get Composting’ where residents can purchase composting bins.




For the Cabinet Member for Waste and Climate Change to encourage residents in South Kesteven by promoting composting via social media and in a version of SK Today.



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