The zero waste plan is based on the recognition that most waste is a resource that continues to have a potential value. Conserving, reusing and recovering the value of those resources will be more cost effective in the long term than losing that value through disposal. Where new infrastructure is needed to treat waste, it will be funded through a combination of investment by local authorities and the private waste management sector.
The zero waste strategy recognises that there will be initial costs for local
"will enable local and targeted support to help different sectors improve their understanding and use of resources."
Following on from that, what is the role of the Scottish Futures Trust in supporting the zero waste strategy? Will the targeted support include financial support? Does the cabinet secretary see a role for private finance in the development of waste management facilities?
The member has asked a number of questions; I will deal with as many as I can remember. The SFT is taking a proactive role with a number of local authorities that are looking to procure waste treatment infrastructure. The aim is to ensure that we do so as cost effectively as is possible.
On the issue of how much finance might be given to local authorities by the Scottish Government to deal with this, given the current financial climate and the serious cuts that we face to our budget in the coming years, we will have to consider at the next spending review what help the Scottish Government can give. The situation will be very difficult. However, we should be positive about the position that we are in, because many local authorities in Scotland are considering procuring new waste treatment infrastructure, and many proposals are already in the pipeline.
Local authorities see the issue as a priority and are willing to finance it through their own means and through the general local government settlement that is given to them by the Scottish Government.