Environment (December 2019)

Key Messages
  • Wirral’s recycling rate has stagnated and even gone into decline in recent years, both as a result of the introduction of a charged garden waste service and the more stringent quality requirements from reprocessors. Wirral’s recycling rate at March 2019 was 32.5%.

  • Nationally the Government consultation on its new Resources & Waste Strategy will shape waste management policy in England and therefore Wirral for a number of years to come.

  • The estimated maximum recycling rate for Wirral with the current waste collection system is only 42%.

  • A detailed study of the composition of green (general waste), grey (dry recycling) and brown bins (garden waste) across Wirral has highlighted that over 35% of the content of the green residual waste bin is food.

  • Food waste is the biggest component (by weight) of the non-recycled waste bin.

  • Food waste is therefore one of the largest remaining opportunities to improve the Council’s recycling performance.

  • Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) is responsible for the treatment and/or disposal of all Merseyside Districts and Halton Borough Council’s municipal waste.

  • The cost of waste treatment and disposal via MRWA is through a Levy mechanism and all costs and savings are shared amongst the districts.

  • Local Environmental Quality (LEQ) is a key performance indicator for the Loving our Environment Strategy. LEQ National 2017/18 was 86% for litter, whilst Wirral was 97.4% for B and above in shopping areas and gateways. In 2018/19, Wirral had a score of 98.4% (2014/15 it was 97.5%)

  • The Council spends in the region of £3.6m per year on picking up litter, sweeping the streets and removing fly-tipping.

  • Across the UK, 900,000 incidents of fly tipping on local authority land were reported in 2016, with many more occurring on private land. The economic costs are enormous – in 2014/15, local authorities spent almost £70 million on clean up and enforcement.

  • In 2018/19, Wirral had 3,152 reported incidents of fly tipping. The majority of these were small van load size of household waste. This is a 53% increase from a figure of 2,052 reported incidents in 2014/15.

  • In July 2019 Wirral Council announced Climate Emergency.

  • Wirral’s ‘Managing our Waste Strategy,’ to achieve the EU and UK target of 50% recycling by 2020, requires major service change, involving the establishment of new collection arrangements.

  • Through Eco Schools, Wirral schools have increased their recycling from 35% in 2014/15 to 49% in 2018/19.

  • In 2018, the Government launched its 25-year plan for the environment, pledging that we would be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.

  • 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, endangering marine life and entering the food chain. Wirral Council is committed to addressing the causes of environmental pollution and at its meeting in December 2017, the Council passed a resolution to address the impact of single use plastics (SUP) on the environment as part of this commitment. In November 2018, Wirral Council published its Single Use Plastic Free Wirral Policy.

  • 2017 Residents Survey results show that “street cleanliness” is the second most important priority to residents, after “low levels of crime”.

  • 2017 Residents Survey results for all four constituencies had environmental issues such as dog fouling and littering as part of their top three concerns in their local area.

Further resources