£295 million boost for weekly food waste collections announced: what do local authorities need to consider?

The government has announced the allocation of up to £295 million to local authorities, to help accelerate implementation of weekly food waste collections. 

The full list of local authorities benefitting from a grant, along with the conditions of grant, is available here. This article explains the purpose of the government’s additional funding and advises on next steps for local authorities.

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a duty on local authorities to collect food waste separately from other waste streams, although the timescales within which separate collections are to be introduced are not yet finalised. 

With local authorities’ budgets being stretched at this time, the government’s additional funding is intended to assist with the cost of new food waste containers for homes and specialist collection vehicles. 

Whilst the local authorities benefitting from the additional funding will no doubt be grateful for the additional funding, many will be alive to the fact that there are numerous other costs associated with the introduction of separate food waste collections. 

Exeter City Council, for example, faces a £8million bill to upgrade its existing materials reclamation facility to accommodate the reception of the food waste. Other local authorities are engaged in negotiations with existing contractors to vary existing collection and treatment contracts, which may result in compensation payments being made to those contractors. 

Local authorities are encouraged to undertake due diligence of their current waste collection and disposal arrangements. This is important to ensure that logistical challenges can be identified and costs budgeted, ahead of the finalisation of a statutory deadline for the introduction of separate food waste collections. 

For more information, please contact the energy and resource management team.

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