Strategy for Waste Management
Reducing waste, increasing recycling and treating residual waste biologically or thermally are key targets of The Highland Council as it aims to make the Highlands a greener and cleaner place and meet waste management targets set by the Scottish Executive.
All measures require investment and the Council is to seek an early meeting with the Scottish Executive to discuss funding arrangements and the timetable for implementing future waste collection, treatment and disposal arrangements.
At the same time, the Council wishes to clarify the position regarding the application of penalties under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) up to 2010. The LATS was introduced to restrict the amount of biodegradeable waste, which is landfilled. The scheme assumes that 63% of municipal waste is biodegradable.
To avoid penalties, the Council aims to: -
• Work to achieve 40% recycling by 2010;
• Put local sustainable residual waste treatment facilities in place to deal with the excess residual waste, currently estimated at 25,000 tonnes, by 2010;
• Pursue a sharing agreement on landfill allowances with other Councils, in the first instance with Moray Council;
• Complete the route optimisation of the normal refuse collections routes to free up resources to implement a commercial waste recycling service in the larger urban area.
In conjunction with Moray Council, the Council is also carrying out a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) followed by an outline business case for the future waste strategy for the Highlands and Moray Council areas as a matter of urgency.
Councillor John Laing, Chairman of TEC Services, said: “The Council has made excellent progress in rolling out new recycling services, funded by the Scottish Executive's Strategic waste Fund, to the Highland community.
“The public has responded well by raising recycling levels from 3% in 2002/3 to over 26% in 2006/7.
“However, more must be done, particularly to stop the continuing growth in the amounts of waste generated. We all must take responsibility for the waste we produce and take every opportunity to reduce it by choosing carefully what we buy and where possible home composting garden waste and using the re-use market for things that we no longer want.
“We must also continue to improve the recycling rate and divert even more waste from landfill. This will only be achieved with additional resource to fund new services and most importantly of all for the public and business to embrace recycling as “the norm” rather than as an optional extra.”