Local authorities throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are being urged to respond to a survey to gather data relating to the impacts of austerity measures on councils’ waste, recycling and street cleansing services.
Organisations that work with local authorities are also being asked to comment on the impacts of the cuts that they have seen. The project is being delivered by sustainability consultancy, Ricardo-AEA, on behalf of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM).
This high-level survey will be followed by in-depth conversations with a small number of local authorities. This will gather more information and enable the impacts of the cuts to be understood in greater detail, allowing for best practice case studies to be developed.
While it is clear that cuts to public funding have had a significant impact on local services, it is less clear what the specific impact has been on waste, recycling and street cleansing services. The research survey seeks to address this gap in knowledge, to establish the impacts that funding cuts have already had on these local authority services and assess what the future impacts on services might be.
The research will also identify innovative solutions implemented by councils that have led to a more efficient service being provided, with improved financial, environmental and social outcomes. It is anticipated that the project will provide clear insights combined with extensive peer experience to support future decision-making and enable other councils to effectively implement similar successful changes. The research is likely to be of significant interest and use as local authorities across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland enter the next critical stage of budget cuts and subsequent efficiency reviews.
Ricardo-AEA practice director for resource efficiency and waste management Adam Read said: "The survey’s findings will provide a valuable insight into the impact of waste management policies and will highlight best practice for future decision-making. We’ve designed the survey to be simple to complete and would encourage all local authorities and partner organisations to take part in order to better understand the challenges being faced."