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Caithness News Bulletins March 2003

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At a meeting of The Highland Council's Sustainable Development Select Committee, Members were given a progress report on the community waste initiatives currently supported by the Council and agreed to endorse the principle of continued support of such initiatives within the framework of the Highland Area Waste Plan.

Next month the Government is reforming the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, which currently supports many Highland community and environmental projects that have improved the quality of the environment at a local level. Under the revised scheme the amount of money available to local environmental projects will be reduced by two thirds nationally and waste initiatives will no longer be funded. Councillors were told that in addition to this, the imminent closure of the Longman landfill site in Inverness will reduce the amount of Landfill Tax Credit available for distribution by The Highland Council to 12% of its current level.

The Highland Council has helped to develop a Highland Area Waste Plan to provide an overarching waste management strategy for the Highlands. This plan recognises the important role Community Waste Initiatives will play in helping to achieve targets. Currently, through funding from Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, 10 ENTRUST registered bodies have received funding for over 15 waste related initiatives including IT equipment recycling, composting, furniture recycling, farm waste, school projects and paper recycling.

Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, Councillor Ian Ross said: "Communities have an important contribution to make in waste minimisation, both in diverting waste from landfill, but also in promoting greater public awareness and engagement. Every effort should be made to support these initiatives within the framework of the Highland Area Waste Plan. The Council is keen to ensure avenues of funding continue to be available to support appropriate community initiatives."

One new initiative that the Council is keen to explore is a Real Nappy Project to promote the use of reusable nappies. Currently in the Highlands around 16 million disposable nappies are thrown away each year. This represents 4% of all waste going to landfill sites. Members of the Sustainable Development Committee agreed to approach the Wellbeing Alliance partners and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to investigate the feasibility of setting up a Real Nappy partnership. They also agreed to research further the current disposable nappy technology, particularly in relation to biodegradable products and look at how to optimise the dissemination of information so parents can make an informed choice.

Chairman, Councillor Ian Ross said: "Modern reusable nappies offer a style and convenience which was never envisaged nor available in the past and have moved on considerably from the days of the "terries". There are clearly major economic advantages in their use and they would also reduce the enormous contribution disposable nappies make to our landfill waste. It is important parents are in a position to make an informed choice over the type of nappy they use."

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