The "Zero Waste" Achievement Strategy
One of the changes implemented by the concordat has been for Birmingham City Council to aim for Zero Waste. Zero Waste is a concept initially developed in New Zealand that aims to see used resources as a resource rather than waste. After a tussle with the bureaucracy* Birmingham's Municipal Waste Management Strategy is now the Zero Waste Achievement Strategy. Birmingham has historically been an authority that is difficult to change. The new administration has now, however, got its hands on the levers of power and is starting to manipulate them.
Birmingham used to be quite good on dealing with rubbish. The department was called the "Salvage" department - which is the right attitude. However, after the Heath Government created the West Midlands County Council one of the County's first actions was to say "landfill is cheap - lets fill up the landfill sites". This undermined what was actually a reasonably progressive approach to waste.
We now have the concept of "Urban Village Environmental Partnership" involving the City Council, Brumcan and CSV Environment. The bureaucracy is fighting a rear guard action on this. However, resistance is futile, we will implement a partnership approach to a zero waste strategy.
Labour had been rather ineffectual on sustainability issues, this gives the city an opportunity to use best practise to leapfrog other cities. I have created the Sustainability Action Team to assist in pushing forward this agenda. We have done quite well now having made considerable progress down the line on this (with one SAT meeting and one recycling working party meeting).
*tussle with the bureaucracy
Over time the various ways in which the bureaucracy resists change will be cited - within the constraints implied by the Standards Board for England and its rules.