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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Merton Civic Centre

Contact: Richard Seedhouse, Democratic Services Officer, x3616 

Link: View the meeting live here

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chair welcomed those present in the chamber and on the livestream.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Jason Cummings, Barry Lewis and Ian Manders.  Councillor Luke Taylor attended as substitute for Councillor Barry Lewis


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 114 KB


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2022 were agreed as an accurate record.


Contract Performance pdf icon PDF 365 KB

Additional documents:


The Partnership Director presented the report to the Committee.  In response to questions from the Committee, the Partnership Director confirmed that the abuse of Nitrous Oxide and the gas bottle litter associated with it required a combined approach of talking to residents and commercial customers to ensure that the bottles don’t go into general waste, and to make it clear how they should be disposed of.  Traditionally take-back schemes had operated through suppliers, but the growth in online purchases created a challenge for such schemes.  Safety checks are made at the point of disposal, when received, at check in with drivers and at discharge. 


Artificial intelligence applications are taught to recognise unauthorised waste, similar to that used in airports, but this is a new application of the technology, so still in its trial stage for this applied use.


The British Compressed Gas Association are lobbying the government for a ban on sales.  Viridor have briefed and lobby local MPs and are putting a significant budget into an awareness campaign which is expected to go live in the next few weeks.


Soil separation recycling is done manually at site by customers with assistance from operatives, it’s a manual process, which has been well received. 


The reuse shop at Fishers Farm is going to be opened up 7 days a week, and an increase in use is expected in the run up to Christmas, particularly for children’s bikes.  The Partnership agreed to look at recycling an advertising campaign from a previous year in order to boost awareness


The upcycling programme is waiting for the delivery of the specialist container that will become the ‘classroom’ building.  The workshops are ready to go, but can’t be advertised until the building is delivered, Updates will be provided at future meetings.


These schemes are similar to those operated in other boroughs, however the scheme stands out in focusing on upcycling rather than repairs.


The Partnership Director explained that data on emissions comes form different sources and is sometimes published by third parties without being fact checked, there is a role for Viridor in proactively responding to such reports.


RESOLVED:  That the committee commented and noted the report.




Budget Update pdf icon PDF 223 KB


The Partnership Director presented the Budget Update. 


In response to questions the Partnership Director confirmed that the first indication of an overspend on the waste composition analysis project came after the initial assumptions had been made and when project was costed, inflation and resourcing between that time and implementation had also had an impact.  The increase in costs were offset with savings in other areas, and the commission report sought balance these out.  Waste composition analysis is very important for our future services and climate agendas. The work has not been done for some time, and so it has put pressure on the team, but the experience will ensure more accurate budget setting in the future.


In reference to the carbon impact of collections and residual waste, the Partnership Director informed the committee that the first step was to understand holistically the impact of our services, collection treatment and transfer, etc.  It is then possible to quantify the investment before making decision on where to focus efforts on the areas where the largest impact can be achieved,


RESOLVED:  That the committee noted the report.


Communications pdf icon PDF 796 KB


The Communications Advisor presented the report.


The Advisor agreed to return with figures on the efficiency of AD facilities in generating electricity, but noted that 10s of thousands of homes can be powered.


The current website relies on google analytics, the new website provided by Huxley comes with a 3 year maintenance and support package and will provide information on how the site is performing.


The Advisor agreed to explore using QR codes on bins to help users identify which bin to use for their waste.


Data on the Carbon impact will be available following the WCA survey, from that we will be able to extrapolate the carbon impact of targeting certain categories of waste. 


The Environment Agency (EA) consultation on the Viridor/Beddington ERF permit variation application will be hosted through and we will be able to use local communication channels to promote the survey once it has gone live (expected to be December 2022).  Once the responses are gathered and assessed, officer’s understanding is that the EA will hold a further round of cconsultation on what they are ‘minded to do’.


RESOLVED: That the committee noted the report.