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President update: 3rd August 2021

3 August 2021

The summer holidays are here and I hope many of you will be taking a well-deserved break. Unfortunately, for local authorities, there is no break from the continuing impacts of Covid, with many services severely affected by the self-isolation ‘pingdemic’. For colleagues in waste, staff absence in combination with the national shortage of HGV drivers has left many collection services and Household Waste Recycling Centres struggling, and we have concerns about how HGV shortages may impact on the winter gritting services that will be upon us sooner than we’d like to think! We have raised the issue with DfT and the ADEPT Waste Group has been in regular contact with Defra. I’m pleased to say we’ve secured more clarity on government measures for critical waste workers (see here).

We have also been in dialogue with Defra on the progress of the Environment Bill, and planning for the implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain and Local Nature Recovery Strategies. We have upcoming meetings with the Director General (Net Zero Buildings & Industry) at BEIS, the Cities and Local Growth Unit and the new President of the Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation. We also hosted a workshop for DfT on bus recovery funding issues.

As part of the Blueprint coalition, we will be responding the Environmental Audit Committee’s request for responses to the recent National Audit Office report, Local Government and Net Zero in England. For the coalition’s response to the NAO report, click here. We are particularly concerned that there is a lack of government recognition of the need for climate adaptation measures. Our Blueprint Coalition document, ‘Recognising local authorities as key partners in the Net Zero Strategy’, is available here.

Our latest Climate Change blog is from Steve Palfrey, Chair of the Waste Board. Steve discusses ADEPT’s response to the recent spate of Defra consultations on waste, packaging and resources. These have covered Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections. For ADEPT, the most fundamental of these is EPR. You can find ADEPT’s consultation responses here.

The Latest Live Labs blog is from Kent. Project Manager, Carol Valentine, takes us through phase two of their drone trial, which is running from April – November this year. November will see the official end of the Live Labs programme, although because of Covid, some trials will continue past this date. To celebrate everything the programme has achieved, we will be holding a Live Labs Expo at Derby County Football Ground, so save 1st December in your diaries and watch this space for more news!

We have commissioned Shared Intelligence to undertake a new review of ADEPT to understand what has changed, what we have improved and how we can develop further since their first report in 2018. We would be grateful if you could respond to the emails we have sent out. It is a short 10 minute survey about the impact of ADEPT and needs to be completed by Friday 6th August. Please email if you would like more information or have not received the email.

The 2021 National Traffic Managers Conference will be held at the Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road stadium on 13thOctober. Registration is open, so to find out more, click here and book your place here. Booking is now open for the ADEPT Autumn Conference, 18 – 19 November, which will again be held at the Apex Hotel in Bath. It will be great to catch up with many of you in person at the conference. Have a look at the draft programme for Climate, Recovery and Renewal - looking ahead to a decade of action here and book your place here.

Finally, keep checking our COVID-19 updates page for news, as well as the ADEPT website, where we publish a whole range of updates and documents to support members.