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Next step in Somerset’s move beyond landfill

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is making good progress in its plans to end almost all use of landfill in Somerset and reduce the present £12 million a year cost of rubbish disposal through burial.

SWP’s governing Somerset Waste Board (SWB) of councillors from all six Somerset local authorities approved a progress report on Friday 25th September, and gave the go ahead to issue a European-wide tender to find a company to provide an alternative to landfill for Somerset.

The latest stage also involved seeking two sites for waste transfer stations, one to serve broadly the east of the county and one to serve the west, where domestic rubbish can be bulked up for transport out of county for treatment or turning into fuel for export or UK use.

The options were whittled down from more than 60 possible sites to a shortlist of 10 for the west and seven to serve the east. The search has homed-in to two preferred options, and one fall-back, on the basis of availability, size, position, risk of congestion, likelihood of gaining planning and permitting consent, and costs.

Bidders will not be obliged to use the two preferred sites but they will be available for any bidder who does not have any alternatives. While the SWP preferred options do not include the existing landfill sites at Dimmer and Walpole, these could still also be proposed by bidders.

If approved by the SWB, the locations of the preferred sites will be identified later, once land negotiations have been concluded and when applications for planning permission and Environment Agency permits are made.

The cost savings sought by the six councils that make up SWP’s partnership could be secured and exceeded by Somerset residents simply by recycling far more and wasting far less, as 50% of the average rubbish bin could be recycled at the kerbside and a further 10% recycled at Somerset network of 16 recycling sites.

As part of its efforts to help residents waste less, recycle more and save money, SWP has unveiled  the new livery for its rubbish collection vehicles.

The new ‘wrap’ livery is both a protective system to preserve the appearance and value of the vehicle and promotes a strong waste message.

Against a backdrop of contrasting images of landfilled rubbish and Somerset countryside, including the Glastonbury Tor, it urges “Less of this … Think before you bin” and “More of this … Recycle More (every bit helps)”.