Plans to reduce the thousands of tonnes of rubbish landfilled in Cambridgeshire every year have been given a massive£35m cash boost.
Although Cambridgeshire is one of the leading counties in the UK for recycling every year it still spends around£7m to landfill around 200,000 tonnes of waste into large holes in the ground.
The cost of landfilling rubbish is rising rapidly which means that reducing the amount of waste we landfill will not only be more environmentally friendly but will save money in the long term.
With more than 56,000 new homes expected to be built in Cambridgeshire by 2016 it is vital the new treatment facilities are provided for a growing population.
The process of identifying what sort of facilities to choose, and a private sector partner to deliver them, is expected to take two years, followed by a similar period for construction. New waste treatment facilities could come on stream in 2009. These state of the art facilities are to be designed and built using innovative and cost effective technologies. The facilities could include recycling and composting treatments, and mechanical biological treatment which turns rubbish into fuel.
The UK has set up specific targets to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill. These targets are to reduce landfill of biodegradable household waste by:
25 per cent by 2010
50 per cent by 2013
65 per cent by 2020
Over the last three years, Cambridgeshire county, district and city councils have, working in partnership, expanded the facilities for waste collection and recycling in the county. These joint efforts have made us one of the highest recycling areas in the country - achieving a recycling rate of 39% between April and September last year.
Cambridgeshire cabinet member for environment, Shona Johnstone, said: 'We know that protecting the environment and recycling are very important to Cambridgeshire residents. With thousands of homes due to be built in Cambridgeshire we must have the correct facilities in place to cope with the current and future mountains of rubbish which will be generated. Cambridgeshire has always been a leading authority in waste collection and disposal and is highly committed to delivering excellent and sustainable services to residents. These new facilities will build on the already successful services that are provided and help put Cambridgeshire at the forefront of recycling.
'It is going to be a large-scale project and will only be successfully completed by the co-ordinated efforts of local councils, the private sector and Cambridgeshire residents themselves. We urge people to keep up the good work of recycling they have been doing but also to look forward to the start-up of the new facilities.'
- The UK government has set targets to reduce biodegradable municipal waste (ie household waste) going to landfill, in line with the EU Landfill Directive. Each county and unitary council has been set fixed tonnage limits which it must not exceed. These limits provide the toughest challenge to areas of rapid housing growth, such as Cambridgeshire.
- The private finance initiative provides part funding for long term contracts (usually 25 years) between the public and private sectors. Investment capital is provided by the public sector contractor.
- Landfill is strictly regulated in the UK but remains an unsustainable form of waste management, generating methane, which contributes to climate change, and burying valuable resources which could be used over and over again.
A press release from DEFRA follows:
Cambridgeshire is set to exceed future waste targets after
environment minister Elliot Morley announced£35m to help the county
slow down landfilling and accelerate recycling.
Defra has allocated the money for a private finance initiative
project that will upgrade parts of Cambridgeshire CC's
waste management facilities in order to better meet the needs of the
The project aims to cut the amount of waste being landfilled by two
thirds and nearly double the recycling and composting rate to 54
percent by 2011.
The council intend to sustain these rates throughout the 25-year life
of the project, despite a projected significant increase in the
number of households and resident population in Cambridgeshire.
Residents in Cambridgeshire are already some of the top recyclers in
the country, with 29 per cent of its 293,187 tonnes of waste being
recycled in 2003/4.
Mr Morley said: 'I'm delighted the Cambridgeshire have produced a
scheme with high aspirations: targets exceeding statutory
requirements and plans that not only equip residents and local
business with what they need to move to more sustainable waste
practices, but serve the future needs of the local community by
planning strategically for the long term.'
Shona Johnstone, cabinet member for environment and transport, said:
'We welcome the government's support. Cambridgeshire has always been
a leading authority in waste collection and disposal and is highly
committed to delivering excellent and sustainable services to
residents. These new facilities will build on the already successful
services that are provided and help put Cambridgeshire at the
forefront of recycling.'
Cambridgeshire will be one of the 21 authorities to benefit from cash
injections from waste PFI funding since 1997. For the full list of
projects and for further information on PFI funding see:
Private finances initiative is designed to increase private sector
involvement in the provision of public services.
18 authorities (plus three new agreements in Manchester, Southwark
and Cambridgeshire) have benefited from cash injections from waste
PFI funding since 1997 - nine of which are already full operations.
For the full list of projects and for further information on PFI
In the spending review 2002 (covering the period 2003/04 to
2005/06) Defra was allocated£355m towards the funding of waste PFI
projects. The SR 2004 (covering the period 2006/07 to 2008/09)
allocated an additional£275m of PFI credits for waste PFI projects,
over and above the£355 available from the 2002 spending review.