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Waste partnership's £723k overspend to be covered by reserves

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China’s ban on imports of most recyclable materials has contributed to pushing Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) into unexpected financial problems, LGC’s sister title Materials Recycling World reports.

A report to its board projected an “adverse variance” of £723,000 on its £33.5m budget for this year, which is likely to be covered using reserves.

It said that unpredictable recyclate and vehicle fuel prices meant that calculations were “still subject to significant fluctuations”.

While Dorset’s waste materials are sorted in Wales and reprocessed in the UK and Europe, international market changes in recyclate prices “and, in particular, the effects of changes in China” meant that the budgeted price of zero for recyclate disposal for 2018-19 had not been met, and had instead been “considerably higher”, leading to the overspend. Transport costs and challenges relating to the partnership’s commercial waste trading account have also contributed significantly to the overall projected overspend.

By contrast, last year Dorset’s councils shared a £1.72m windfall when the partnership underspent.

From 1 April 2019 two new unitary councils - one covering the Borough of Poole and Bournemouth and Christchurch BCs, and the other covering the rest of Dorset - will be formed replacing the county’s nine existing authorities. 

The waste partnership currently delivers waste services in Christchurch on behalf of Christchurch BC. The partnership has noted a report that details proposed interim arrangements to allow the new unitary council covering the Borough of Poole and Bournemouth and Christchurch BCs to delegate the waste function for Christchurch to Dorset Council for a year, with an option to extend or end that arrangement. The shadow executive committees for the two new councils will take a final decision on this proposal next month.

This story was updated at 14.12 on 18 September to alter to the headline, provide more information about the driving factors for the projected overspend, and clarify the proposed future arrangements for waste service provision in Christchurch.

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