Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Trevor Clarke Trevor Clarke DUP 3:15 pm, 12th October 2020

7. Mr Clarke asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to outline how his Department is working with local councils to assist them in diverting waste away from landfill. (AQO 869/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

My Department has a long history of working with local councils to help them make sure that as many of our resources as possible are diverted from landfill. By following the principles of the waste hierarchy, DAERA has undertaken a number of initiatives involving local councils to prevent waste from being generated in the first instance, as part of the waste prevention programme. Reuse projects have also been provided with funding, notably the newly launched Northern Ireland Resources Network, which brings together a range of stakeholders, including local councils, to provide support and guidance in promoting reuse and repair.

Since the introduction of the Food Waste Regulations 2015, over one million tons of biodegradable waste have been diverted from landfill. Separate collection of food waste has also positively impacted on the levels and quality of waste recycling.

As a result of collaborative working between my Department and councils, Northern Ireland has reached, ahead of schedule, the EU and Northern Ireland waste management strategy recycling target of 50%. Building on that success, the current £23 million household waste recycling collaborative change programme financially supports councils to increase recycling rates further, improve the quality of recycling and reduce reliance on landfill. That financial support has been accompanied by my Department's work alongside the Northern Ireland national communications action plan, which has resulted in a common approach being taken to communications and behavioural change campaigns in Northern Ireland, ensuring that that important recycling messaging is delivered to all residents. That has all yielded very positive results, but my Department will continue to build on them.

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

That ends the period for listed questions. We now move on to topical questions for 15 minutes.