The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated. He advised that the purpose of the report was to seek Members’ endorsement with regard to applying for membership of the Zero Waste Europe network.
A lengthy debate ensued during which the following salient points were raised:
- Referred to the importance of Zero Waste in terms of addressing the climate emergency and the global crisis.
- Expressed concern at the lack of progress in regards to Council becoming a Zero Waste economy.
- Referred to the need for a joint approach in terms of tackling this issue.
- Suggested establishing a Steering Group to drive this forward and address any issues which emerge. This group to include representatives from Zero Waste North West.
- Proposed a policy on the “No Sale of Fossil Fuels/Diesel/Petrol”.
- Referred to the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change with air travel being a massive contributor.
- Referred to the need to consider and assess the environmental impact of all future infrastructural developments and any issues identified being addressed prior to works beginning.
- Referred to issues with potential budgetary implications.
- Referred to the benefits of a Zero Waste Economy for the City in terms of greater tourism potential.
- Acknowledged the work carried out by Zero Waste North West.
- Referred to the need for a functioninbg Climate Emergency Group who could be the overarching advisory body.
The Chairperson advised that the Strategic Growth Plan Environmental Pillar contained a commitment for a forum to be established by Council to become a lead partner to address the issue of a Zero Waste Strategy emerging from Council’s policy to become a Zero Waste Economy and suggested that it be on this basis that the matter is taken forward.
Councillor McCann expressed concern that eighteen months following the adoption of a Motion by Council no action had yet been taken.
The Chairperson reiterated that there was a proposal within the Strategic Growth Partnership to progress this Motion and suggested that Officers be requested to convene this Forum in order that the matter could be progressed.
Councillor Duffy referred to a similar proposal made the previous year regarding the establishment of a Steering Group. However, during discussion with Council Officers it was agreed that this would be established within the context of the Community Plan and would include all relevant partners. She referred to a considerable amount of background work which had been carried out to date and said it was crucial that the initial meeting of the Forum be convened as soon as possible. She commended the work carried out by Zero Waste North West in taking this forward.
Councillor Durkan welcomed the proposal contained in the report which she said demonstrated Council’s commitment towards achieving Zero Waste status. This also connected with climate emergency and climate consciousness. She suggested that perhaps the establishment of a Forum through the Strategic Growth Partnership could prove the most effective way to take this forward.
The Head of Environment explained that there was a commitment within the Strategic Growth Partnership to establish a Forum to progress the development of a Zero Waste Economy. He referred to a considerable amount of work which had been carried out to date on how to take this forward. He stated that Council had endorsed the Strategy and Officers had undertaken a wide range of activities outlined within the Strategy in terms of education and awareness. A Marketing Officer had also been appointed who had been key in terms of promoting a number of initiatives and progressing key actions outlined within the Strategy. He referred to progress which had been made in regards to a green waste kerbside collection which formed part of the strategy. Council also provided a food waste collection which was operational in almost all households throughout the Council district. He stated that Officers had been engaging with communities across Europe and had attended a Study Group in Brussels to discuss how other areas in Europe take forward their Strategy.
The Head of Environment stated that Officers had acknowledged the work carried out by Zero Waste Scotland and how they had embedded a circular economy and had been working on how best to drive forward a circular economy. He stated that a circular economy was a driver for economic development. He stated that Council was committed to delivering a Forum on which to take this forward and decisions were required in regards to who should be involved. Whilst North West Zero Waste would definitely be involved there were other sectors who would require to become involved within the wider group. Engagement had taken place with Members of the Assembly in this regard. This was a major focus for officers from the Strategic Investment Board and Department for Economy. He stated that this was only one element in regards to waste and moving towards a Zero Waste economy.
The Head of Environment advised that Officers would present a report updating Members on progress to date and proposals for taking this forward. HE pointed out that the Chief Executive had met with representatives from Zero Waste North West and gave them a commitment that Council would deliver on this. HE said he was committed to delivering on a circular economy for Council, however, this would take time. He advised that Officers would present a report to a future Meeting of Committee on all work carried out to date and proposals for taking this forward and to ensure that Council delivered on the Strategy agreed in 2018.
Subsequently the Committee
Recommended (i) that Council apply for membership of the Zero Waste Europe Network;
(ii) that the Forum agreed within the Strategic Growth Partnership be established to progress and deliver on a Zero Waste Economy; and
(iii) that a Climate Emergency Group be established as soon as possible to assist in the delivery of a Zero Waste Economy.