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Scottish Environmental Protection Agency

Thurso Office


The official launch of the Highlands waste plan takes place on 27 March 2003 and is being attended by representatives of community groups from throughout the North. The event is in the Victoria suite of Ross Country FC's stadium in Dingwall. The plan represents the Highland's contribution to the National Waste Plan announced by Environment Minister Ross Finnie on 24 February which means the area will have to radically change how it disposes of 500,000 tonnes of waste every year.

Representatives from a cross-section of the Highland community have developed this plan, which has been designed to give the most benefits and the least drawbacks to the people, the environment and the economy of the Highlands, whilst meeting international obligations.

The event will also see the launch of the new Transforming Waste Scotland grant programme, which will provide funding for community based waste management initiatives.

Welcoming the launch, Environment Minister Ross Finnie said: "Each year we squander valuable resources and energy by burying them in landfill sites. Such waste damages our environment and our economy. I welcome, therefore, the steps being taken in the Highlands to move to more sustainable use of our resources. Government and Local Authorities are responding to the challenges but success in meeting the challenging targets within Highlands waste plan will depend on a real change in public behaviour. We look to the people of the Highlands to play their part."

Councillor Ian Ross, a member of SEPA's north region board, said: "If current trends continue over the next 20 years the amount of waste we produce will double. It's vital that we get individuals, groups and communities involved from throughout the Highlands. This is an ambitious plan, but an achievable one, if we all work together. That's why we're pleased so many part of the Highlands are represented here today."

Printed copies of the plan are available by calling 01349 860367 or the Waste Action Line on
0800 389 52 70, or by emailing   highlandwaste@sepa.org.uk

Copies and other information are also available online at www.sepa.org.uk/nws

The Highland Waste Strategy Group is made up of representatives of public bodies (Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Water) and representatives of community groups, the waste industry and waste producers.

Highland Targets

All households will be asked to separate their waste into three types - recyclables, compostables and residuals - which will be collected directly from the doorstep.

Recycling target: 31% by 2020. This will be backed up by a public education campaign.  Recyclables will be sorted and sent on for recycling. Effort will be put into developing local recycling and local markets.  In response to the consultation exercise, the targets for recycling are being phased in more quickly.

Composting target 13% by 2020.  Compostables will be taken to local compost plants located around the Highlands. Local markets for the compost will be developed. Further work is required to determine the best number of composting facilities.

Energy recovery target: 27% by 2020. The energy from waste facility will serve the areas of Inverness, Nairn, Ross & Cromarty, and Lochaber. Only waste that has not been separated by householders for recycling or composting will be sent to this facility. The type of technology has not been specified, but any facility will have strict regulations to comply with. In response to the consultation exercise, the energy from waste plant is now scheduled for 2010, rather than 2007.

Landfill target: 29% by 2020. This is a decrease from 98% today. Waste that has not been separated for composting, recycling or energy recovery will be sent to landfill, as well as reject material from all these processes. It is assumed that residue from the Energy from Waste plant will also be sent to landfill, although this may be able to be recycled.

Three existing landfills will continue to be used: Seater will serve Caithness and Sutherland; Granish will serve Badenoch and Strathspey; and Portree will serve Skye and Lochalsh.  A new landfill is required in the inner Moray Firth.

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