News National award for scheme that’s boosted kerbside collections and recycling

An innovative scheme which has allowed Devon’s district councils to improve their kerbside waste collection services and improve recycling rates has won a national award.

The Devon Authorities Shared Saving Scheme was recognised as the ‘Best New Idea’ at the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Celebration Awards 2021.

The award was accepted by Devon County Council working with and on behalf of five of Devon’s waste collection authorities, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, Teignbridge and Torridge District Councils.

The scheme has led to savings of £6.8m in treatment costs for the County Council, and half of this extra money has been shared back with the five District Councils which has enabled them to improve their waste collection services.

It has also increased recycling rates for those authorities and improved recycling collection services for over 250,000 Devon households.

The Scheme has allowed the five authorities to change their kerbside collections knowing that savings that they generate in cheaper treatment costs or a reduction in waste volumes will be shared back with them to fund further initiatives and improvements.

It has also supported the introduction of separate weekly food waste collections and partly subsidised separate garden waste collections which has improved the amount of food waste collected.

Average recycling levels within the five District Council areas have improved overall from 47.9% to 55.2% with a reduction in waste volumes of 25kg/head (6%).

Councillor Roger Croad, DCC’s cabinet member responsible for waste said:

Congratulations to Devon County Council’s waste team for delivering this innovative scheme and our district council colleagues – this is a great example of Devon’s councils working together. It has improved local services for more than a quarter of a million people and it’s great that it has been nationally recognised.”

Councillor Geoff Jung, the chair of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee (DASWC) and East Devon District Council portfolio holder for Coast, Country and Environment said:

I’m delighted that Devon’s councils have been recognised nationally. It shows yet again that by pooling our expertise and knowledge for the greater good of Devon we can, increase efficiency, improve recycling rates and reduce costs to enable us to continue to improve the services we can offer.”

Ban domestic flights and promote rail to tackle climate change, say transport campaigners

A leading national charity is calling on the UK government to ban some domestic flights and do more to promote rail as a greener alternative to help tackle climate change.

Rob O’Connor 

The increasingly influential Campaign for Better Transport is calling for measures to curb the number of domestic flights with a ban on certain routes and the equivalent train journey made cheaper, along with mandatory emissions labelling on airplane tickets. It also wants to see Air Passenger Duty (APD) maintained – rather than cut in the upcoming Budget as the government has indicated it might – and a frequent flyer levy introduced.

The plan would mean an end to flights between Manchester and London, London and Edinburgh, and Birmingham and Glasgow, with people offered cheaper train tickets instead, and anyone taking more than three international flights a year would be required to pay a frequent flyer levy.

Paul Tuohy, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey. Making the train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to air passenger duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly. The government has led the way with bold climate ambitions, now it needs to take similarly bold actions to make those ambitions a reality.”

Campaign for Better Transport is calling for the following measures to help tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions from aviation and boost rail passenger numbers:

  • A ban on all domestic flights where the equivalent train journey is under five hours; [This would rule out domestic flights from Exeter to London, Manchester, Leeds and put Norwich on the borderline – Owl]
  • Cheaper trains tickets to compete with budget airlines;
  • No cut to Air Passenger Duty and a frequent flyer levy on international flights in the upcoming Budget;
  • Stop all plans for airport expansion until ‘net zero flights’ are a reality;
  • Make airlines label their tickets with comparison train emissions so that people can make informed choices.

Campaign for Better Transport is warning that without further measures to help reduce emissions from transport, the UK will struggle to meet its climate commitments. With the Budget falling just days before the start of the UN Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow, the charity warns that any cut to APD will damage the UK’s environmental credibility ahead of the international conference.

The charity argues that many of the most popular domestic flight can be completed by direct train instead, bringing the UK closer to achieving net zero carbon emission. When check in and landing times are factored in, many of the journeys take a similar amount of time by train, but the charity argues one of the reasons people fly is the cost of the equivalent train journey and that more could be done to ensure rail is always the cheaper option.

To prove the benefits of travelling by train, Campaign for Better Transport’s Paul Tuohy and Norman Baker, a former Lib-Dem MP and transport minister in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government between 2010-2013, ‘raced’ from London’s Piccadilly Circus to George’s Square in Glasgow on Friday 8 October by plane and train respectively. Door to door the plane journey was two minutes quicker but released almost seven times the amount of greenhouse gases.

Owl needs to put the record straight on “Deputy Dawg” 

Yesterday Owl wondered why Dominic Raab had not intervened in the spat between the Treasury and Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy mistakenly thinking that this might be part of the “Deputy Prime Minister” job description. Wrong! – Owl

Dominic Raab Not In Charge Of Country While Boris Johnson Holidays In Marbella

Sophia Sleigh 

The new deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is not in charge of running the country while Boris Johnson is on holiday, No10 has said. 

Dominic Raab was demoted from his post of foreign secretary but handed the title of deputy prime minister amid a tussle in the recent reshuffle.

But despite Raab being made second-in-command, the prime minister’s official spokesman insisted today that Boris Johnson continues to be “in charge” while he is on holiday.

The PM is currently holidaying with his family in Marbella, Spain, following the Tory party conference in Manchester last week.

Asked if Raab would step in to run the country, the spokesman replied: “As you’ve seen, the prime minister continues to be in charge as is always the case.

“The deputy prime minister has an important role to play and including in stepping up for the prime minister in parliament.

“Obviously we’re in recess at the moment, but as you’ll have seen the prime minister has taken some calls with leaders already today and there’ll be others to follow.”

The spokesman said Raab, who is also the justice secretary, was not currently on holiday. 

Raab previously came under fire for his family break in Crete when he was foreign secretary as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban amid the withdrawal of western troops.

Johnson has also been criticisied for taking his holiday during the ongoing energy crisis which has left some industries reliant on gas warning of shutdowns over the winter.

But Downing Street defended Johnson’s decision to go away, saying he was continuing to work on government business.

“The prime minister continues to be in charge as is always the case,” the spokesman said.

Environmental Damage in East Devon – Landowners to pay

From an environmentalist:

The Environment Agency require two East Devon Landowners to pay substantial fees for environmental damage and two environmental charities benefit £106,000.

The Environment Agency rather than taking offending companies and individuals to court for environmental infringements often apply for civil sanctions known as “Enforcement Undertakings”

When the EA decide to impose a sanction, they apply the same safeguards as when they decide to prosecute. They will make sure that the recipient of a notice understands the case against them by setting out the alleged offence and the reasons for the proposed sanctions.

They also consider the victims and third parties (where they are known to them) whose interests have been adversely impacted by the alleged environmental incident. 

The Environment Agency will 

  • ensure that affected third parties are appropriately compensated. 
  • encourage offenders to engage with the local community, assess and fully remediate the impacts of the environmental incident. 

Both infringements in East Devon that the Environment Agency has reported are for sanctions concluded in the last 6 months (Between April and Sept) are in the parish of Woodbury. 

Mr Richard H Parr of Higher Bagmores Farm in Woodbury has agreed to a sum of £82,000. 

The offence was for operating without an “Environmental Permit” for a waste operation – Regulation 38(1) to the disposal of waste at Higher Bagmores Farm, Woodbury between June 2016, and March 2018. Mr Parr has also agreed to carry out restoration work, to obtain advice from an external consultants, to cease all waste movements into the site, complete construction of silage clamps on his site and to cover the Environment Agency’s costs.

Mr Parr has agreed that his contribution of £82,000 to go to North Devon Biosphere Foundation which is the Management Strategy which coordinates the delivery of the Action Plan for North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Their stated aims are to provide biodiversity and visitor added value function on the Tarka Trail between Braunton and Meeth and on Cycle Way 27 between Willingcott and Ilfracombe and to add further value for the North Devon and Torridge sections of the South West Coast Path

F W S Carter & Sons Limited of Greendale Business Park and owners of Hogsbrook Farm in Woodbury Salterton has agreed to a sum of £24000.

The offence was for operating without an “Environmental Permit” for a water discharge activity and waste operation – Regulation 38(1). It relates to sewage pollution on Grindle Brook and burning of waste at Hogsbrook Farm, Woodbury Salterton, Devon in May 2019.

The owners of Hogsbrook farm have also agreed to the diversion of roof water, the carrying out daily the monitoring and emptying of storage tanks, to implement a new farm waste management strategy, with an assigned responsible person, to construct a new covered area, and to cover the Environment Agency’s costs.

The Owners have also agreed to contribute £24,000 to Westcountry Rivers Trust. 

The West Country Rivers Trust is a charity set up in 1984 whose aim is to restore and protect the rivers, lakes, and estuaries of the Westcountry for the benefit of nature, people, and local economies and helping our Westcountry rivers flow freely and teem with life, while valuing our most precious of resources, water.