A "GROUNDBREAKING" body that will provide a radical new approach to dealing with waste has been launched in Newcastle.

PLANNING applications for new environmentally friendly waste sites have fallen by 20 per cent in a year amid the budget squeeze on local authorities and uncertainty following the Brexit vote, according to new research.

ENFIELD Council has approved a £58m investment in its own energy company, making it one of the first London boroughs to set one up.

Three Devon councils have joined forces with the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Exeter to establish a new environmentally friendly energy company.

The UK's first green energy ISA, which allows people to invest in renewable solar power tax-free, has raised over £1m.

The UK's first-ever council solar bonds have sold out a month early, raising £1.8m.

The bonds, issued by Swindon Borough Council and peer-to-peer lending platform Abundance, were sold directly to the public for a minimum £5 investment to fund Swindon Community Solar Farm.

The council is co-investing £3m to build the 5MW solar farm on publicly owned land at Common Farm, Wroughton.

Councils in the North West have delivered combined savings worth around £20m per year through their waste management services, according to a new review.

The study by Local Partnerships, the body jointly owned by the Treasury and the Local Government Association, looked at 22 of the region's 43 local authorities.

South Tyneside Council has reduced the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill by two-thirds since 2010, according to new figures.

The authority said that over the past year, the amount of waste going to landfill has fallen to just three per cent.

This was largely down to more material that cannot be recycled being sent to an energy-from-waste facility in Teeside, which opened in April 2014 as part of the £250m Strategic Waste Partnership between South Tyneside, Gateshead and Sunderland councils.

Councils in England are closing in on a target of recycling 50 per cent of household waste by 2020, with 73 already meeting or exceeding that threshold, according to new research.

The GMB union said of the 23.1m tones of household waste generated across England's 320 councils, 10.1m was sent for recycling, composting or reuse in 2014-15, a rate of 43.7 per cent.

South Oxfordshire District had the highest recycling rate at 67.3 per cent, followed by the Vale of White Horse DC (65.6 per cent), Rochford DC (65.2 per cent) and Surrey Heath BC (63.3 per cent).

Eighteen councils have secured almost in Government grants to retrofit buses with green technology capable of cutting harmful emissions by up to 90 per cent.

More than £6.8m from the Clean Bus Technology Fund will be used to upgrade 439 buses operating in pollution hotpots.

To secure funding, local authorities had to show evidence that retrofit technology would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by at least 50 per cent. Councils will also have to monitor the schemes and provide evidence of their effectiveness.