Newcastle launches "groundbreaking" waste commission

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

The Newcastle Waste Commission will bring together regulators, businesses and industry bodies to carry out a root and branch review of how waste is managed from the moment it is created to the moment it is disposed of, covering recycling, refuse, energy and packaging.

Its members include Dr Colin Church, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, Peter Maddox, director of government programmes for charity the Waste & Resources Action Programme, and Marie Fallon, director of regulated industry at the Environment Agency.

They will be joined by Andrew Griffiths, head of environmental sustainability at Nestle UK & Ireland, Paul Taylor, UK chief executive of waste recycling group FCC Environment, and Ben Webster, environment editor of the Times.

Newcastle produces 142,000 tonnes of waste annually, enough to fill St James Park, the home of Newcastle United, to the top every three years.

The waste commission was created by Cllr Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods and regulatory services.

"Newcastle has decided that it can't go on producing inordinate amounts of waste and just dumping it in the ground. We want a new approach. Something that challenges each and every one of us to change our behaviour for the world today and the world tomorrow. We owe this to future generations," he said.

"I want Newcastle to become a model of excellence in how it deals with waste; a city that is emulated all around the world in tackling this global problem."

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water Group, who will chair the Newcastle Waste Commission, added: "How we deal with the sheer amount of waste society produces is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. It's critically important for all of us that we take a long, hard look at waste to see what we can do to reduce it and see what potential benefits we can create. 

"I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Newcastle Waste Commission, and look forward to working with our panel of experts and listening to the views and experiences of a wide range of organisations and individuals over the coming months to see what we can do differently."

The commission will hold a series of meetings in Newcastle and London over the next six months to hear evidence from individuals and organisations. It aims to produce a set of recommendations for Newcastle that could be applied to other cities by the end of the year.