Waste experts tour Newcastle

A photograph of the waste commissioners
A photograph of the waste commissioners

Experts in the world of waste met today for the first time in Newcastle.

The seven members of the Newcastle Waste Commission went on a bus tour of the city to see at first hand some of the waste issues big cities such as Newcastle face.

Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group, Heidi Mottram, who chairs the Commission, said: “I am delighted that the Commissioners have been able to come together for what will be the first of five meetings.

“Today was just about getting to know each other and getting a feel for some of the challenges Newcastle faces.

“The Commissioners were very keen to see for themselves what is happening on the ground before meeting stakeholders and residents over the coming months.”

The Newcastle Waste Commission was launched in February to take a radical look at how the city deals with waste.

It 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 drastically reduce the 142,000 tonnes of waste it produces every year.

Including today it will meet three times in Newcastle and twice in London and operate like a Government-style select committee hearing evidence and then producing a report before the end of the year with a series of recommendations for the whole city.

Cllr Nick Kemp, Newcastle’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Regulation, came up with the idea in the hope that the city can be truly ground-breaking and emulated around the world for tackling a global problem.

Cllr Kemp said: “I welcome the waste commissioners to Newcastle. They are all experts in their own field and I am delighted we have managed to bring together such an eminent group of individuals to shape the future of the city which could have implications for other cities.”

Commissioners visited the household waste processing plant at Byker which reprocesses 60,000 tonnes of the city’s black bag waste every year, sending plastic to Sweden to be burned to heat homes and organic material to Northumberland be turned into compost.

The Commissioners were also driven down the back lanes of the Heaton Terraces; visited Newcastle Great Park – one of the biggest housing development sites in the UK; the Hospital’s Trust; Benwell; Newcastle and Northumbria Universities; the Civic Centre and the city’s main composting site, Sandhills.

Commission members are:

Heidi Mottram (Chair) Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group

Dr Colin Church, Chief Executive of Chartered Institute 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 & Resource 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

The Commission’s next meeting will be in London on April 21, followed by Newcastle on May 19, London on July 14 and finally in Newcastle on September 22.

The work of the Commission will help inform the city council’s waste strategy which is in the process of being updated.