Agenda item

Scrutiny Inquiry - Waste Services - Terms of Reference

To receive, comment and feedback on proposed Terms of Reference for a joint scrutiny board inquiry with the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board.


The report of the Head of Democratic Services set out the Terms of Reference following a proposal for a joint inquiry to be conducted by the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board, together with the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board. The Terms of Reference reflect requests from members of both Boards to consider in detail issues associated with the strategic direction of waste services, and specifically ways in which recycling rates can be improved and at what cost.


Appended to the submitted report included a copy of the Terms of Reference.


The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor M Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Housing

o  Councillor A Scopes, Scrutiny Chair for Strategy and Resources

o  John Woolmer, Chief Officer Environmental Services

o  Mandy Snaith, Head of Catering Services


The Chief Officer Environmental Services set out some key considerations for the current Waste Strategy for Leeds, and the implications for Leeds as a result of the current consultation by Government through DEFRA on dealing with consistency with how waste is managed and also the action Local Authorities are required to take in terms of kerbside food and glass collections. It was noted that further clarity is expected around TEEP regulations, and resourcing implications remain a critical component of the National Waste Strategy and the impact this will have on the Leeds model.


Councillor Scopes outlined the role of the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board and acknowledged the number of challenges in terms of budgetary implications and confirmed a joint approach to this work will provide a better outcome for Leeds and will provide an opportunity to understand reducing the overall impact on the climate emergency. 


In response to Members comments and questions, the following was discussed:

·  To consider whether Leeds will partake in an app-based initiative being developed for household waste to be converted to jet fuel. Additional suggestions were put forward in terms of biologic processes to break down organic materials, and options in terms of the refuse fleet. Members heard future meetings will establish implications relating to infrastructure and finances and whether such proposals are viable.

·  A member requested that a breakdown of the city’s waste be converted to a percentage figure instead of tonnage.

·  Considerations around providing additional cardboard recycling points and bottle banks across the city.

·  Members were informed of a potential comingled option where food and garden waste will be collected together, and the possibility for this service to be offered all year round. In response to this, members expressed their concerns in terms of brown bin infrastructure across the city and the need to address solutions for densely populated areas with no provision for brown bins. Additional considerations will focus on the size of bins, and clarity from the Government is awaited on high rise properties.

·  The need for a detailed analysis to identify the percentage of glass in black bins at the RERF facility.

·  To ensure that missed bin collections are reflected accurately and include all households across the city.

·  A member requested that previous reports relating to the service be circulated to members, to understand the matters previously discussed at the Environment, Housing and Communities Board meetings.

·  The importance of liaising with services such as planning, housing, and highways to help mitigate issues relating to fleet accessibility, the design of housing schemes and ensuring bin yards are kept clear.

·  Representatives from DEFRA and Zero Waste Leeds will be invited to meetings relating to this inquiry. Additionally, a member suggested that an invitation be extended to the Green Doctor and acknowledged the importance of engaging with school children on recycling matters.


The Board agreed to appoint Councillors C Howley, D Ragan and B Anderson to join deliberations relating to this inquiry on the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board.


The Chair concluded by proposing a working group meeting, to provide the opportunity to assess the impact on the deliverability of the service and any service enhancements. Board members unanimously agreed to this approach. Respective parties, together with the Chief Officer Environmental Services and Board Members will be invited to the meeting.



a)  To note the contents of the submitted report and to approve the Terms of Reference.

b)  To approve the proposal to delegate specific elements of the inquiry, expressly related to finance, to the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board for further consideration.

c)  To nominate Councillor C Howley, Councillor D Ragan and Councillor B Anderson to join members of the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board in their deliberations.

d)  To note the appointment of Councillors D Chapman, A Scopes and S Firth to represent the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board during elements of the inquiry conducted by the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

e)  To note that, in conjunction with the Chief Officer Environmental Services, Board members and relevant parties, a working group will be set up to discuss urgent concerns around current elements of performance.


Supporting documents: