HAMPSHIRE’S waste partnership – Project Integra – made up of the organisations responsible for the collection and disposal of the county’s waste, has a new chairman.

Sean Woodward has taken over the project helm for the next 12 months and has already challenged the Government on key issues such as landfill rates and recycling targets.

Hampshire has an enviable record of diversion from landfill. In 2014-15, just 6.6 per cent of the county’s municipal waste was sent to landfill. What is classed as recycling, however, is defined differently by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, English local authorities and other EU member states, and Project Integra is asking the Government to reconsider the criteria used.

The material Hampshire produces as part of the waste process which Project Integra wants classed as a recyclable product is incinerator bottom ash. This is the material left at the end of the energy-recovery process after residual waste diverted from landfill has been processed to release energy to generate heat and electricity.

Metal is extracted from this ash to be used again and the ash itself is then used as a building aggregate. Although in Wales and other EU member states this incinerator bottom ash aggregate is classed as recycling, this isn’t the case in England.

Project Integra is bringing these and other issues to the attention of central Government, via a position paper which has been sent to MP?Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

Mr Woodward said: “We are proud of the amount of waste we divert from landfill in Hampshire and are committed to increasing diversion as far as we can. The EU has set member states recycling targets, and while I support the idea of targets, this is a particularly tough target to meet when recycling classifications are inconsistent.

“In Hampshire, incinerator bottom ash is processed and re-used it doesn’t go to landfill and it should, therefore, be classed as recycling.

“So I would ask the Government to give us a level playing field with the rest of the UK and Europe, and a fighting chance to meet our recycling targets.

“We estimate England’s recycling rate would increase by around five percentage points if incinerator bottom ash is included.”

Mr Woodward added: “Project Integra is a successful waste partnership for Hampshire, and I am determined to use my chairmanship over the next year to ensure we are well-placed to tackle the issues of waste and recycling in the future as population and housing numbers continue to grow.

“I am keen to see a clear policy direction from the Government that will provide the industry with the confidence to invest and to develop new material streams for recycling.

“It’s important residents are confident we are doing all we can to provide good quality waste services, so they are encouraged to do all they can to reduce their own household waste.”

Project Integra is made up of 11 district and borough councils, including East Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth’s unitary authorities, the county council, plus Veolia.