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Norfolk county councillors set to give green light on £100,000 recycling advisory scheme

PUBLISHED: 16:31 11 May 2012

Norfolk county councillor Bill Borrett.

Norfolk county councillor Bill Borrett.

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Councillors are set to agree on a new £100,000 scheme which will help Norfolk communities get recycling projects off the ground.

The Norfolk Community Recycling Advisory Service (NCRAS) will be a one-stop shop for groups to get free practical and technical advice on establishing or expanding recycling and composting schemes.

Members of Norfolk County Council will debate the service during its cabinet meeting on Monday (May 14) and, if passed, it will be launched immediately, according to Kate Murrell, waste reduction manager for the authority.

Mrs Murrell said the scheme will allow groups to receive expert advice on licenses, regulations, insurance or planning permission.

She added: “The community groups are hitting these stumbling blocks and not moving forward.”

Experts giving the advice will not belong to the council but will be from May Gurney and McDonald’s, who are partners of the NCRAS.

Mrs Murrell said recycling banks and composting areas for green waste set up by voluntary groups benefits communities by getting people involved in the process.

The NCRAS will run alongside the council’s recycling credits scheme which pays £340,000 a year to parish and town councils as well as charities and community groups who have set up recycling centres across the county.

These credits, given back to groups by the council, are based on the amount of money it would cost for waste to be put into landfill.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment and waste, said he was delighted with the NCRAS proposal.

He added: “More local recycling schemes can bring big benefits to Norfolk. They make it more convenient for people to recycle, and that means higher levels of recycling and less waste being sent to landfill.

“Whether communities want to simply start from scratch with a couple of bring banks, set up a scheme to refurbish second hand items and give them a new lease of life, or establish a full scale community composting scheme, this new service from the county council is designed to give a helping hand with clear, practical advice so local communities can get up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

During a recent full council meeting, new chairman Ian Monson said: “We all discard so much good clothing, books, furniture and other household objects, which can be sorted and found new homes through charities, shops, markets, fetes and car boot sales.

“There is so much potential to increase our recycling rates in this way. These voluntary groups need positive recognition.”

During this year and last year the recycling rate across the county was 46pc and Mrs Murrell said she hoped that number would increase through the NCRAS.

Andrew Boswell, green councillor for the Norwich’s Nelson ward, said: “I welcome this as a small first step towards a zero waste culture in Norfolk. However much greater investment is needed in recycling and particularly reuse. A county the size of Norfolk should be developing reuse parks, as in some US states. That way, there would be no need to consider an incinerator.”

One village which has benefited from a recycling scheme is North Tuddenham after the parish council set up two bring banks two years ago.

A team of five volunteers and working parties of up to 20 people collect metals, paper, cardboard.

The group also turns hard plastics into granules and refurbishes household items.

Jonathan Stapleton, chairman of North Tuddenham Parish Council, said: “The income we now make from our village recycling is good. It certainly means we can spend more in our community than we’d ever be able with just our precept. The scheme has also fostered a strong sense of community spirit with the team getting together on such a regular basis.”

Currently advice on planning and regulations for recycling units is provided through the council’s waste reduction team.

If approved, requests for advice through the NCRAS can be sent to zerowaste@norfolk.gov.uk or by ringing 0344 800 8020. For more information about the scheme, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/communityrrr

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