Tough Government targets designed to redirect waste away from landfill sites, and the strong economic prospects associated with re-using waste for low carbon energy generation has united the north east’s public and private sectors to establish the North East Sustainable Resources Board. It is understood that this is the first committee of its type outside London.
The chair of the board will be Lord Jack Cunningham, a former Cabinet Minister in Tony Blair’s 1997 Government.
Cunningham said: “Ultimately, the establishment of the board is a clear statement of intent from the public and private sectors that they want to work together to dramatically improve the north east’s waste management processes.
“The region is rich in companies fulfilling our waste processing requirements, but currently they are lacking the framework in which to coordinate activity to operate with maximum effectiveness and with a common goal in mind.
“The board fills precisely this leadership role and we’re delighted with the buy-in from high level private sector businesses. With their help and support and the backing of the public sector we will ensure the region develops a waste management policy that is fit for the 21st century.”
The board’s first aim is to develop a coherent regional resource management plan designed to position the sustainable resource sector as an integral part of emerging proposals for a regional strategy.
Secretariat support for the board will be provided by Renew, an organisation set up to assist businesses looking to maximise the economic opportunities and carbon reductions achievable from the application of low carbon energy and environmental technologies.
Renew director John Barton said: “Once waste is seen as a valuable resource that can be given a second life, its economic potential and job creation opportunities are huge, and the North East Sustainable Resources Board is going to play a key role in helping us unlock those possibilities.”
There are still vacant seats to be filled on the board but the confirmed members so far are the following:
- Chair of the Board – The Rt Hon Lord Jack Cunningham of Felling;
- Business – resources and waste industry: David Beaty, Keltbray;
- Business – industry recycling: Paul Booth, Sabic;
- Business – resources & waste industry: Michael Thompson, Graphite Resources;
- Policy – Fiona Gough, Government Office for the North East;
- North East Regional Strategy and Planning – Lucy Jowett, Association of North East Councils;
- Business support & investment – Graham Hillier, Centre for Process Innovation
- LA chief executive – Paul Walker, Hartlepool BC;
- LA Leaders’ Board member – Mayor Stuart Drummond, Hartlepool BC;
- Regulation – David Dangerfield, regional director, Environment Agency.