Pre- Submission Draft Waste Local Plan
3. Context for Waste Planning
3.1. Together Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council are developing a joint waste local plan. This will include policies to guide the future development and management of waste. The Plan reflects other guidance and legislation that sets out waste policy at the international, and national level and is based on an understanding of how we should manage our waste more sustainably by 2038.
3.2. There are two key principles that underpin waste planning which aim to promote the concept of waste as a resource to be used - these are the Circular Economy and theWaste Hierarchy.
The Circular Economy
3.3. A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their useful life.
Figure 2 – The Circular Economy
3.4. As well as creating new opportunities for growth, the concept of a circular economy provides opportunities to:
- reduce waste
- drive greater resource productivity
- deliver a more competitive UK economy
- position the UK to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future
- help reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption in both the UK and abroad.
The Waste Hierarchy
3.5. A series of European Union (EU) directives set out the general principles for waste management. The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (2008) establishes the 'waste hierarchy' which prioritises the most beneficial ways of dealing with our waste. The concept aims to push waste management up the waste hierarchy in order to prevent waste in the first instance and then examine the way we re-use the waste that is produced. Currently, most of the UK's environmental laws and policies are based on European laws. Although the UK left the EU in January 2020, the EU's policies on waste have already been transposed into UK law and therefore remain relevant until updated.
Figure 3 – The Waste Hierarchy
3.6. A key principle underpinning how waste should be managed – whether as a waste producer, the waste management industry, or as the Waste Planning Authority, is to follow the Waste Hierarchy shown above. This prioritises prevention as the most sustainable option, then encouraging re-use of existing products. Once products have become waste the next priority is to recycle them so that the raw materials can be re-processed into new products. Where this is not technically, or economically possible, materials can still be recovered in some way e.g. incineration with energy recovery such as the Eastcroft facility in Nottingham which heats and powers homes and businesses. The least sustainable solution is disposal such as burning waste without capturing heat or energy or taking waste to landfill. However, it is recognised that disposal still has a necessary role to play for residual waste that cannot be further recycled or recovered.
3.7. It is important to note that the Waste Local Plan only covers the facilities for re-use/recycling, recovery and disposal. Prevention is about manufacturing processes and consumer behaviour, for example choosing more sustainable options such as designing products so that they will last longer or can be repaired more easily or have less packaging etc. The waste local plan will deal with waste that has already been produced and there are many factors that influence waste production that are outside the remit of the waste local plan.
3.8. In addition to considering the context identified in the spatial portrait, the Plan takes account of existing, European, National and Local policy as summarised below.
Hazardous Waste Directive (1991/689/EEC)
3.9. Waste is generally considered hazardous if it, or the material or substances it contains, pose a risk to human or environmental health. As hazardous waste poses a higher risk to the environment and human health strict controls apply.
3.10. Waste Planning Authorities are required to plan for the volume of waste arising in their area, and this may include waste management facilities to deal with hazardous waste. However, it is accepted that, often, the provision of specialist facilities for wastes that arise in relatively small quantities, or require specialist treatment technologies, will require co-ordination at a regional or national level.
Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC)
3.11. The Landfill Directive was introduced in July 1999. The Landfill Directive sets out requirements for the location, management, engineering, closure and monitoring of landfill sites. In the Directive, the term "landfill" is taken to mean "a waste disposal site for the deposit of the waste onto or into land". The Landfill Directive includes requirements relating to the characteristics of the waste to be landfilled.
3.12. European Council Decision 03/33/EC supports the Landfill Directive by providing criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills. Paragraph 15 states: "Whereas the recovery, in accordance with Directive 75/442/EEC, of inert or non-hazardous waste which is suitable, through their use in redevelopment/restoration and filling-in work, or for construction purposes may not constitute a landfilling activity".
EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU)
3.13. The Industrial Emissions Directive combined seven separate existing directives related to industrial emissions, including the Waste Incineration Directive (2000/76/EC). Following the UK's EU exit, the body of law implementing this regime is now classed as retained EU law and remains in place through domestic regulations, including the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales Regulations) 2016, as amended. The directive covers new facilities and existing facilities and imposes strict emission standards for incineration technologies addressing air pollution to prevent harmful effects on both the environment and human health.
3.14. Modern incineration plants must ensure pollution control is a priority; emissions must comply with the requirements of the Waste Incineration Directive. The Directive supports the use of cleaner technologies in order to mitigate the impacts of incineration facilities on the environment and human health.
EU Circular Economy Action Plan
3.15. In a "circular economy" the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised, and resources are kept within the economy until a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value.
3.16. In 2018 the European Union agreed a package of measures which form part of the implementation of its Circular Economy Action Plan. These measures include increasing the existing recycling target for municipal waste to 65% by 2035 and a target to reduce landfill to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2035. This compares to a target of 50% by 2020 that the UK Government and local authorities are currently working to. Even though the UK has left the EU, the Government has signalled the Circular Economy measures will be adopted within UK legislation.
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012
3.17. The system of development plans, introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011), requires local planning authorities (LPAs) to prepare 'local plans' which are made up of Development Plan Documents (DPDs).
3.18. LPAs must set out a programme for the preparation of DPDs in a 'Local Development Scheme' and explain how communities and stakeholders will be involved in the process in a 'Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)'. The Act also requires LPAs to carry out a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) during the preparation of the local plan.
3.19. The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) Regulations 2012 prescribe the form and content of local plan documents and the associated policies map. The regulations also define the process for the preparation and adoption of a local plan.
The Localism Act 2011
3.20. The Localism Act 2011 enabled the abolition of regional spatial strategies. The abolition of most of policies in the East Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy in March 2013 resulted in the removal of regionally-derived targets for waste management (e.g. diversion from landfill, recycling and composting, and provision for accepting London's waste), which have not been replaced at the local or national level.
3.21. The Localism Act 2011 introduced the Duty to Cooperate (DtC). The DtC places a legal duty on LPAs, county councils and other public bodies to engage constructively in the interests of local plan preparation. As the WPA, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City must demonstrate how it has complied with the DtC at the examination of its waste local plan.
The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011
3.22. The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (the Waste Regulations) require waste collection authorities (WCAs) to ensure that appropriate recycling standards can be met through commingling, or through source segregated collections. The use of such approaches to waste collection can impact upon the amount and the quality of waste collected and the potential to recycle.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2021
3.23. In 2012 the Government replaced many of the former national planning policy guidance notes and statements and Government Circulars with a single document, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A revised NPPF was published in July 2018, and further updated in February 2019 and July 2021.
3.24. The NPPF is supported by the national Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), originally published in March 2014 with updates since. The PPG replaced the explanatory documents that had previously supported the national planning policy guidance notes and statements.
3.25. The NPPF provides guidance for the preparation of local plans and encourages LPAs to keep them up-to-date, requiring them to be reviewed at least every 5 years. There is an expectation that LPAs 'positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area and be sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapid change'. For waste planning such flexibility is vital, given the need for waste management provision to respond to changes in the market (e.g., international markets for recyclate and refuse derived fuels).
3.26. Plans should 'provide for objectively assessed needs …', as well as any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas. In the context of the Plan this could include taking some waste from areas outside Nottinghamshire and Nottingham, such as Derbyshire and Yorkshire, or further afield.
3.27. The NPPF indicates the need for waste management facilities to be provided as strategic infrastructure. The county council is required to work with district and borough councils to contribute to an integrated approach to the provision of essential development such as homes and the infrastructure needed to support them.
National Planning Policy for Waste (NPPW) 2014
3.28. The National Planning Policy for Waste (NPPW) 2014 sits alongside the NPPF and sets out the Government's ambition to work towards a more sustainable approach to waste management and use. It aims to ensure waste management facilities make a positive contribution to communities and to balance the need for waste management with the interests of the community.
3.29. More specifically, the Policy advises WPAs to:
- Identify sufficient opportunities to meet the identified needs of their area for the management of waste, based on robust analysis of best available data and information.
- Ensure waste is managed as high up the waste hierarchy as possible recognising the need for a mix of types and scale of facilities.
- Work jointly and collaboratively with other planning authorities including on issues of cross-boundary movements and any national need.
- Take into account the need for a limited number of facilities for disposal of residual waste which may arise in more than one waste planning authority area.
- Undertake early and meaningful engagement with local communities, recognising that proposals for waste management facilities such as incinerators can be controversial.
Waste Management Plan for England (2021)
3.30. The Government published a national Waste Management Plan for England in December 2013 which was updated in 2021.
3.31. The plan brings together a number of policies under the umbrella of one national plan. It seeks to encourage a more sustainable and efficient approach to resource management and outlines the policies that are in place to help move towards the goal of a zero waste economy in the UK. The Government consulted on the Waste Management Plan for England in October 2020, it came into effect in January 2021 to reflect the Waste and Resources Strategy published in December 2018.
3.32. The Waste Management Plan for England provides an overview of the management of all waste streams in England and evaluates how it will support implementation of the objectives and provisions of the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD).
Resources and Waste Strategy (2018)
3.33. In December 2018, the Government published a new waste strategy for England. This strategy is particularly concerned with ensuring that society's approach to waste aligns with circular economy principles i.e. keeping resources in use as long as possible in order to extract maximum value from them (See figure 3 above). The Strategy confirms a target recycling rate for England of 65% for MSW by 2035. The strategy also seeks to limit the landfill of municipal waste to 10% or less by 2030 and eliminate all biodegradable waste such as food or garden waste from landfill by the same date.
Net Zero Strategy (2021)
3.34. In October 2021, the Government set out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. It outlines a transition to a greener and more sustainable future, by helping business and consumers move to cleaner power and reducing reliance on imported fossils fuels. This is in line with the target set out within the Climate Change Act (2008, amended 2019) which seeks for greenhouse gas emissions to be equal or lower than emissions in 1990.
Environment Act (2021)
3.35. The Environment Act in 2021 provides the new framework of environmental protection which replaces EU laws since the UK left the EU. The act focuses on nature protection and sets new and binding targets relating to water quality, clean air, environmental protection, and waste reduction. It brings in requirements such as reducing single use plastics as well as introducing a mandate for biodiversity net gain in all developments from November 2023.
Other National Policy Statements
3.36. The Government publishes other plans, policies and strategies which have an impact on the production and management of waste. This includes the 'Industrial Strategy' (2017), the 'Clean Growth Strategy' (2017) and the '25 Year Environment Plan' (2018). In 2018 the government consulted on a new 'Clean Air Strategy'.
3.37. In 2023, the Government published the 'Environmental Improvement Plan' which is the first review of the '25 Year Environment Plan', with a review to be undertaken every five years as set out in law in the Environment Act. This includes the new target to halve residual waste (waste sent to be landfilled, incinerated or used in energy recovery in the UK or overseas) produced per person by 2042. This includes all waste streams except major mineral waste. The 'Environmental Improvement Plan' outlines how this target will be delivered and details interim targets.
Nottinghamshire County Council Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)
3.38. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out the County Council's approach to public consultation and involvement in the preparation of Minerals and Waste Plans and the consideration of planning applications. It was adopted in 2018 and amended in July 2023 in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
Nottingham City Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)
3.39. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out Nottingham City Council's approach to public consultation and involvement in the preparation of Local Plans and the consideration of planning applications. It was adopted in November 2019 and amended in June 2020 in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
Nottinghamshire County Council Municipal Waste Management Strategy (2001)
3.40. The document sets out the objectives for municipal waste management in the County over the next 20 years. It describes the issues facing Nottinghamshire and proposes a way forward. It identifies the short-, medium- and long-term requirements for managing municipal waste, the cost of delivering the solution and associated funding issues the roles and responsibilities of the County Council, the District and Borough Councils and the public to make the solutions work.
Nottingham City Council Resources and Waste Strategy for Nottingham (2023-2050)
3.41. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the aims of the City Council to reduce the amount of waste generated through prevention, reuse, repair, recycling and recovery to help reduce carbon emissions in line with the City Councils carbon neutral policy for 2028. It outlines how it will help to prevent waste and enhance recycling and seeks to continue to reduce waste being sent for landfill.
Nottingham City 2028 Carbon Neutral Action Plan
3.42. Nottingham City Council has made the commitment to become a carbon neutral city by 2028. This means cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from direct and indirect sources that arise from the consumption of energy within the city to near zero and offsetting those emissions that cannot be eliminated.
3.43. The action plan builds on Nottingham 2028 Carbon Neutral Charter by setting out high-level objectives in order to achieve a resilient and carbon neutral Nottingham by 2028. These are broken down into four main sections: Carbon Reduction Measures, Carbon Removal and Offsetting, Resilience and Adaptation, Ecology and Biodiversity. The Waste Local Plan will be an important contributor to achieving the 2028 carbon neutral ambition.
The Nottinghamshire Plan
3.44. The Nottinghamshire Plan sets out the County Council's vision and ambitions over the next ten years, focussing on health and wellbeing, economic growth and living standards, accessibility, and the environment. The Plan includes a commitment to continue to divert more than 95% of local authority waste from landfill and recycle 52% of domestic waste by 2025.
3.45. The County Council has also produced a carbon reduction plan on how it expects to achieve carbon neutrality in its own activities by 2030.