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Northern Ireland adopts circular economy strategy
Derry City and Strabane District Council, Northern Ireland, has approved a strategy developed by Eunomia, aimed at developing a zero waste circular economy.
The strategy is the first of its kind in the UK, and brings together the principles of zero waste and the circular Economy. The strategy aims both to move the management of waste up the hierarchy, and looks to foster the development of the regional economy through keeping resources and products in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value before recovering and regenerating them at the end of their life cycle.
The council, in partnership with Zero Waste North West, commissioned Eunomia to undertake the feasibility study to develop a strategy for the area. Eunomia's report found that if recommended changes to waste management services were fully implemented, they would create 50 additional jobs and have the potential to save the council up to £3M a year, the equivalent of £49 per household per annum. Circular economy opportunities for the predominant sectors in Derry and Strabane area are also identified with potential to yield further significant benefits to the regional economy and local employment.
The report was presented to members of the Environment & Regeneration Committee in December 2017 and, following their proposal, the document was approved by Full Council several days later.
Head of environment at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Conor Canning, believes the new strategy has the potential to yield significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the Council area.
"This Strategy sets out the key actions required to move council towards a circular economy zero waste district which is a key objective identified in our Strategic Growth Plan," he explains. "It points the way towards achieving sustainable waste management practices while also creating economic activity by linking job creation to waste recovery and treatments.
"The report concludes that a zero waste circular economy is achievable and has the potential to yield significant economic, social and environmental benefits in line with the Council's community planning thematic pillars."
Dominic Hogg (pictured), chairman and founder of Eunomia says:
"It's great to see local government embracing the principles of zero waste and the circular economy to provide impetus to regeneration of the regional economy. We hope the Council, its citizens and the businesses in the council area reap the benefits of this approach in years to come, and that other councils will feel inspired to follow suit. The environmental, social and economic benefits expected to flow from a more resource efficient, circular economy are significant."
Speaking on behalf of Zero Waste North West Judi Logue says:
"We couldn't be more delighted. We formed in 2013 to be a catalyst for council and the community to explore real and progressive solutions to the 'waste generation crisis'. All such solutions require a culture shift away from current throwaway attitudes and behaviour.
"To be effective they require local councils to take the lead through public education, redefining 'waste' as vital resources for a local circular economy, in tandem with phased strategic changes to collection methods and infrastructure.
"The fact that implementing it will create local jobs while saving the council millions is compelling. The strategy won cross party support. That puts us ahead of nearly all other council regions within the UK and the island of Ireland, giving us the opportunity to be a region leading the transition.
"We are excited at the prospect of its implementation and look forward to working with council in the coming years."
The Strategy was co-funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
8th March 2018