Newcastle Assembles Top Experts In “Radical” Approach To Waste

Newcastle has announced it has set up a team of “top experts” to take a radical new look at how the city deals with its “mountain of waste” in a ground breaking new initiative.

The newly appointed Newcastle Waste Commission comprises some of the waste industry’s finest brains, including CIWM CEO Dr Colin Church, and is expected to help put the city on the international map.

It’s believed to be the first time that a major city has set up a Commission to take a “root and branch” look at all aspects of waste, from recycling to refuse, waste to energy and packaging.

Every year Newcastle produces 142,000 tonnes of waste – enough to fill the home of Newcastle United, St James Park, entirely to the top every three years.

Cllr Kemp, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services – “Newcastle has decided that it can’t go on producing inordinate amounts of waste and just dumping it in the ground. We want a new approach.”

The Newcastle Waste Commission is the brainchild of Newcastle councillor Nick Kemp, who has responsibility for Newcastle City Council’s waste strategy.

Cllr Kemp, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services, said: “Newcastle has decided that it can’t go on producing inordinate amounts of waste and just dumping it in the ground. We want a new approach. Something that challenges each and every one of us to change our behaviour for the world today and the world tomorrow. We owe this to future generations.

“I want Newcastle to become a model of excellence in how it deals with waste; a city that is emulated all around the world in tackling this global problem.”

Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group, will chair the Newcastle Waste Commission.

Ms Mottram said: “How we deal with the sheer amount of waste society produces is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. It’s critically important for all of us that we take a long hard look at waste to see what we can do to reduce it and see what potential benefits we can create.

“At Northumbrian Water we recycle 100% of the sludge from the wastewater treatment process and turn it into energy, literally creating power from poo. We must be innovative in our approach and look for similar ways to be positive about all waste.

“I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Newcastle Waste Commission, and look forward to working with our panel of experts and listening to the views and experiences of a wide range of organisations and individuals over the coming months to see what we can do differently.”

The Journey Of Waste

The Commission will examine in detail the journey of waste from the moment it is produced through to the moment it is disposed of to see how the city can dramatically reduce its waste mountain.

It’s a response to the national debate about waste in the UK today.

The Commission will meet over the next six months and hear evidence from a wide range of individuals and organisations to inform its thinking, culminating in a report with a series of recommendations.

Although the recommendations will be for Newcastle, it is expected they will be applicable to other cities across the UK and even influence Government policy.

To get the views of key decision makers and business nationally, the Commission will meet twice in London and three times in Newcastle, beginning on March 17. Subsequent meetings will be on April 21 (London); May 19 (Newcastle); July 14 (London) and September 22 (Newcastle). The Commission is expected to produce its report before the end of the year.

Commission members are:

  • Heidi Mottram (Chair) Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group
  • Dr Colin Church, Chief Executive of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
  • Ben Webster, Environment Editor, The Times
  • Marie Fallon, Director of Regulated Industry, Environment Agency
  • Peter Maddox, Director of Government Programmes for the charity, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
  • Paul Taylor, UK Chief Executive of international waste recycling group, FCC Environment
  • Andrew Griffiths, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Nestle UK and Ireland

Waste Commission meetings will be conducted in a select committee-type way.

Businesses, groups and individuals will be able to apply to address the panel, giving their opinions and experiences starting from the meeting on April 21.

Each meeting will focus on a particular theme, eg, waste minimisation, re-use, recycling, emerging technologies and the role of communities.

The Commission’s recommendations will be for the whole of the city to consider – not just the council.

CIWM CEO, Dr Colin Church, said: “I’m delighted to be involved in the Newcastle Waste Commission. This is an exciting attempt to take a forward-looking approach to addressing the issue of resource and waste management in a complex urban environment.

“I’m keen to share CIWM’s expertise and in turn to learn from the expertise of the other Commission members as we work together.”

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