#ExeterBoard discusses cycling in the city

In the absence of Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, I chaired last night’s meeting of Exeter Board.

The focus of the meeting was Cycling in the City and it was gratifying to see a full public gallery for the meeting .


Starting off the discussion was a preamble and question from Graham Heysett.

Preamble: I note from the DCC Cabinet meeting of 8th June 2016 that Councillors resolved that Officers be authorised to continue working on the development of the Exeter Cycle Network, giving priority to Routes E3 (between Redhayes Bridge and the City Centre)and E4 (between Redhayes Bridge and the University of Exeter Streatham Campus). I also note from items 12 and 5 of the report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment to Cabinet (PTE/16/27) that ‘Progression of scheme development throughout financial year 2016/17 is required to ensure construction plans are available when funding becomes available for delivery. The final E3

and E4 cycle routes will be presented to Cabinet prior to construction.’ and ‘A Growth Deal 3 Expression of Interest has been submitted to the LEP for £3.4M of funding for implementation of the cycle routes, available over the period 2017/18 to 2019/20. £1.65M S106 developer contributions have been secured for walking and cycling improvements and are expected to provide the required match funding.’

Question: Can we be confident that development is taking place for the whole length of the routes E3 and E4, that Progression of scheme development through financial year 2016/17 was on track to ensure construction plans are available when funding becomes available, and that Growth Deal 3 funding available for the period 2017/18 to 2019/20 has been secured from the LEP for implementation of the cycle routes?

The response to the question  was given as part of the wider discussion on cycling provision as set out below.

Speaking on the above theme were: Jamie Hulland : Transportation, Planning and Road Safety Manager, Devon County Council

Mike Walton : Exeter Cycling Campaign

Jemma Hodgins : Exeter City Futures

Devon County Council Cycling Strategy : Jamie Hulland

Jamie Hulland outlined the County Council’s current and future proposals for cycling in the City and its ambitions for creating a primary and secondary network of high quality routes and shared cycle/pedestrian paths, subject to available funds. Although not having benefited from Government funding through the Cycling Ambitions Cities Programme such as Oxford and Cambridge, nor through the recent National Parks “Granite and Gears” programme for rural strategic cycle routes serving Dartmoor, Exeter compared well in national terms in its commitment to improved cycle provision across the City.

Funding for future initiatives would come from Growth Deal 3 of £3.4 million topped up to £5.4 million from other County Council funding streams for the period to 2019/20 and the Department of Transport’s Access Fund provision of £1.5 million funding over the next three years towards Devon’s Walking and Cycling Strategy to Prosperity scheme which would also be backed by £60,000 from the County Council. The latter focused on key areas of housing and employment growth in Exeter to change behaviour and promote more creative travel to work and places of education. The project would also support a further extension to the electric bike hire scheme from on-street docking stations in Exeter and deliver annual walking and cycling challenges.

He thanked the Exeter Cycling Campaign for their commitment to and ideas for the network and, referring to the question of Graham Heysett in respect of routes E3 and E4, advised that part of the rationale for the latter was to improve access to the City for cyclists from the growth areas of Newcourt and Monkerton from the Redhayes Bridge/M5 area. Much of the £100,000 commitment in this financial year would focus on the eastern part of the route with subsequent work to occur along Prince Charles Road and Union Road. The E3 route was not as high a priority and would focus on improving linkages from Heavitree and Whipton Barton into the City Centre. He also reported that, both the County Council and City Council, were signatories to the Exeter Cycling Charter.

He responded as follows to Members’ queries:-

  • other than the London Design Guide, there were no official sanctioned Department of Transport planning guidance and use was therefore made of best practise. The City Council’c Principal Project Manager (Infrastructure Delivery) advised that the City Council’s Sustainable Transport Supplementary Planning Guidance assisted the planning process;
  • although demand on CIL contributions was oversubscribed, significant sums were being identified for cycle schemes;
  • shared cycle/pedestrian paths could offer low cost solutions in areas such as Whipton and Heavitree, for example linking Hanover Road and Ladysmith Road through Higher Cemetery could be a possible scheme; and
  • 80%/90% of the road network was gritted but logistics and funding considerations prevented extending this to cycle paths.

Responding to Members’ queries, Joel Smith, the University of Exeter’s Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator, confirmed that the University worked closely with the County and City Councils to improve cycling facilities and, through its Sustainable Transport Plan, was looking at a range of measures to improve cycling provision, both into and on the University campus, with a current estimate of 14% of students and 14% of staff cycling to the campus. Measures being taken included:-

  • work place support scheme;
  • adult confidence cycling sessions;
  • participation in Ride to Work week;
  • keen to extend the CoBike/Electric bike usage across the City and looking at use of land at St David’s Station and on the St Luke’s campus for this purpose as well as introducing electric bikes on the main campus;
  • external consultants to report back on cycle parking provision on the Streatham Campus to feed into the University’s Campus Environment Management Group with Streatham Road seen as a potential area for cycle parking as part of a two tier plan for staff and students to park along this road and access the main site by foot; and
  • student-led project on understanding car use by students.

He confirmed that the University was seeking to action a number of recommendations arising from the presentation of its Sustainable Transport Plan 2016-20 at the November meeting of the County Council’s Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee and undertook to pursue the request for the wider circulation of the above mentioned reports. Referring to a Member’s suggestion that the University should commit to requiring all students to sign up to a no car policy, he acknowledged that student use of cars in the City was a significant issue and referred to a forthcoming meeting on 3 February with local Members on student issues. He noted the comments of a Member in respect of the recent planning applications for purpose built student accommodation in the City, the significant number of cycle parking provision associated with some of these and the apparent lack of communication between the individual developers and the University on the availability of parking spaces on campus and possible developer contribution to such provision.

Jamie Hulland responded further to issues raised:-

  • the 2021 census would further update car usage in Exeter, the current estimate being that some 50% of those working in the City came from outside Exeter but that the City was performing well in comparison with some cities, benefitting in particular from a comprehensive rail network;
  • reducing bus lanes, as was being trialled in Liverpool, to help increase cycle paths, was a radical but unsuitable solution with significant numbers using buses and with the Exeter and District Bus Users Group being a strong pressure group/advocate;
  • responding to the suggestion of advance public alerts to increases in pollution levels, he advised that air quality had improved with better vehicle technology and certain traffic management measures; and
  • opportunities to investigate the potential for additional cycle parking provision on ad hoc, vacant plots of land, both in the City Centre and in residential areas, should be pursued.

Graham Hysett, as a Sustrans Board Member and cycling instructor, responded to the issues raised. He stated that Exeter had been the First Cycle Demonstration City and that it was important to build on the impetus this status had brought, not to slip behind other Cities and to be ambitious with future plans, taking Danish and Dutch Cities as exemplars of imaginative solutions. He suggested that further road improvements such as the Bridge Road scheme, whilst initially reducing travel time, would ultimately witness similar, if not increased, congestion. This scheme, whilst seeking to improve links between the north and south west of the City would feel the impact of the new housing developments to be brought forward for the latter area. He briefly spoke on the relationship between cyclists and pedestrians, particularly on shared routes and the associated psychology of cyclists in the use of these routes.

Members made reference to the wider, holistic approach to infrastructure provision and the specific cycling issues raised, noting that many road schemes had already come forward through CIL contributions and that, whilst much could be done through implementing low cost schemes, such as cycle parking in the City Centre, the Quay area and residential areas, access to other funding streams was important. In this context, reference was made to the need to put further pressure on the LEP to ensure that Exeter, as the lead area in economic growth, should benefit further from investment. Members therefore supported the proposal that the Board urge the LEP to give full recognition to Exeter’s role in the regional economy for it to receive the appropriate funding support for transport and other infrastructure improvements.

Exeter Cycling Campaign : Mike Walton

Mike Walton, spoke at the invitation of the Board on behalf of the Exeter Cycling

Campaign, presenting its vison for a better city. He stated that Exeter faced significant challenges of congestion, pollution, unhealthy lifestyles and the degradation of the public realm. Other cities were finding solutions to these challenges by making cycling the safe and natural choice for people of all ages, for everyday journeys.

Cycling was good for business increasing employee health and wellbeing and reducing absenteeism. The city’s increasing congestion stifled business and made it a less attractive place to invest in. Businesses across the city recognised the important role cycling had to play and had pledged support through the Exeter Cycling Charter.

There was a need for real ambition to deliver the modal shift away from car-driving.

He enlarged on the four areas of challenge:-

  • Pollution – there were 42 deaths per year in Exeter from pollution with other Cities taking this issue seriously by introducing low emission zones and investing in cycling infrastructure and building safe cycle routes as the only way of enabling a significant ‘modal shift’ away from the car to the bicycle to reduce pollution;
  • Congestion – Exeter is congested and planned population growth over the next decade would see the daily commute volume increase by 40%. Rather than dedicating most road space to the most inefficient way of transporting people – the private motor vehicle – some of that space must be used to prioritise the flow of modes of transport that are more efficient, that is, clear corridors for public transport and the creation of dense cycle networks;
  • Unhealthy lifestyles – Cities are “obesogenic” making it difficult for people, especially children to lead healthy lives. Active living should be promoted through encouraging walking and cycling; and
  • Degradation of the public realm – Quality open space and City Centres that are people focused will attract more tourist, residents and businesses.

Specific proposals for increasing cycling included:-

(a)           segregated cycling infrastructure on busy roads;

(b)           separate people walking from people cycling;

(c)           reduce traffic volumes in residential areas; and

(d)           prioritise people who walk and cycle in residential areas and when crossing side roads.

He concluded his presentation with a number of recommendations for the Board seeking vision and leadership and the empowerment of Council officers to respond to the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). He also sought a commitment from both the County and City Councils to work on a Transport Plan for the Greater Exeter Area which focussed on moving people not cars. He asked that all submissions from the County Council to the HotSW LEP included urban.

Members were in support of the suggestions, recognising that a co-ordinated, cross Council approach was necessary because of the differing responsibilities of the County and City Councils in service delivery and that engagement at County Council Cabinet level would be important to help ensure the requisite level of resource commitment. There was also a suggestion that a start could be made by identifying two or three pilot areas involving local communities to achieve “quick wins”. The Transportation, Planning and Road Safety Manager advised that any such ideas would need to have regard to existing commitments and the identification of funding.

Similarly, the development of a Transport Plan for the Greater Exeter area would be progressed through the Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership involving the County, the City and Teignbridge, Mid Devon and East Devon Councils.

Exeter City Futures

Jemma Hodgins stated that the aims of the cycling campaign accorded with those of Exeter City Futures which was similarly concerned that an increasing population and an expanding travel to work region were attracting more commuters from across Devon and putting a significant strain on Exeter’s roads, energy resources and wellbeing of the population. Its ambitious goal was to make the City congestion free and energy independent by 2025. She advised that City Futures welcomed ideas from Board Members on ways of changing travel behaviour patterns.

The meeting RESOLVED that:-

(1)         the Board support the following recommendations put forward by the Exeter Cycling Campaign;

(a)           commit to the vision and work to deliver it;

(b)           empower Council officers;

(c)           audit the delivery of existing Council cycling strategies and task Council officers to prepare to respond to the imminent Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) guidance;

(d)           develop a Greater Exeter Transport Plan which prioritizes movement of people; and

(e)           include urban Exeter cycle network proposals in all submissions to the Heart of the South West LEP; and

(2)         the Board urge the LEP to give full recognition to Exeter’s role in the regional economy for it to receive the appropriate funding support for transport and other infrastructure improvements.

TWEET | Chris Dent

Futher reading:

Exeter Cycling Campaign: Building a better city [Exeter Board, 02 February 2017]

Exeter Cycling Campaign: Slides presented to Exeter Board, 2 February 2017

My Storify feed on the issue: 02/02/17 |#ExeterBoard discusses cycling in Exeter



Exeter Board | Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House

Meeting of Exeter  Board, Thursday 24 September 2015 (Item 39)

Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House

Simon Bowkett, the Chief Executive of Exeter CVS, spoke on the background, philosophy and development of the new Hub.

Exeter CVS had with Devon Doctors (delivering local NHS primary care services to vulnerable groups) and Working Links (delivering Community Rehabilitation under the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme) secured £440,000 from Public Health England’s Recovery Capital Fund to transform Wat-Tyler House into the Exeter Engagement Hub.

A systems review of the services was being undertaken to deliver an integrated health and well being hub for people with a range of needs and capacities covering substance misuse, mental health and offender management services integrated with adult learning, volunteering programmes, housing advice and finance and debt management.

Services included the Clock Tower GP service, the probation service, substance misuse support, SHOT,Eddystone (HIV/STD etc.), Bicton College and Julian House (street homeless). These bodies were represented on a Management Steering Group including representatives of the City and County Councils.

Ivan Jordan, the architect, had designed the building based on (and shaped like) a river reflecting a life’s journey from potentially chaotic beginnings to more placid and settled futures with an “ocean of opportunities”. One end of the building focused on crisis management and, moving through the building, advice and guidance was provided on housing, training, education and skills etc. to help build better futures. The physical layout of the interior promoted connectivity between the agencies with shared meeting spaces to facilitate the exchange of information. There was no reception desk, everyone entering the building being greeted by an individual, usually a volunteer, to ensure the individual is re-assured and helped immediately as well as providing some security for the building and staff. Other examples of assistance included John Lewis which had committed staff to train volunteers in customers care skills.

The Project had received national recognition with presentations made to national bodies as well as visits by Minsters, the Cabinet Office and Police forces.

Phase I would be completed by Mid October with work on the remainder of the building to be completed by April 2016.

He responded to Members’ queries:-

  • because of the physical constraints of the building it had not been possible to accommodate other providers in the City such as St Petrock’s, Gabriel House etc;
  • addressing homelessness was a key element and Simon served on the ICE Board with work also being undertaken through the Homelessness Strand and the Homelessness Strategy Task Group which included St Petrocks; Exeter Community Initiatives, Big Issue, RISE and, Gabriel House. One of the aims of ICE was to strengthen the care pathway for the homeless on release from hospital etc.
  • the Hub had been designed to be user friendly so that clients were encouraged to engage with all services on offer. The presence of a range of services would help provide immediate assistance with other agencies as there were ongoing concerns that delays of three months could occur in some cases before treatment;
  • access to mental health treatment was a particular concern and the need for dual diagnosis was vital in many cases. Gabriel House employed mental health specialists within its Mental Health Crisis Outreach, as did SHOT;
  • work with the Big Issue Foundation who had set up a pilot scheme – “Enterprise Zone” offering both work placements and enterprise, the latter proving more successful because of the nature of individuals within this cohort; AND
  • Bindu Arjoon, the City Council’s Assistant Director Customer Access, was developing an appropriate governance model for the Hub.

The Chair thanked Simon for his presentation.

Exeter Board | Recycling rates in Exeter

The Exeter Board, at its meeting of 31 January 2013, considered the following report

Recycling Rates in the City 
Joint Report of the Assistant Director – Environment (Exeter City Council) and the Head of Capital Development and Waste Management (Devon County Council)

Please note that the following recommendation is subject to consideration and determination by the Committee before taking effect. 

Recommendation: It is recommended that Members note the content of the report, acknowledge the progress made to date on recycling within the city and in particular note the relatively low waste produced per head of population and support the proposed future actions. 

1. Purpose of the Report and Executive Summary 
This report for the Exeter Board reviews recycling rates in Exeter, including:
– the general policy on recycling and composting;
– comparison with other Devon authorities and other councils in Exeter’s benchmarking group;
– reasons for differences in performance; and
– actions to address this.

Exeter performs well in having low overall waste arising in comparison with other authorities. It also performs highly in the percentage of waste sent for ‘dry’ recycling (materials such as plastic, paper, card, metal and glass).

Exeter’s overall rate of waste recycled and composted is 36% (or 47% if the performance of the Recycling Centres is included). Although this is low compared to other Councils in Devon and in Exeter’s benchmarking group, this is largely due to Exeter not having a separate food waste collection, its policy of charging for garden waste collection in preference to a free collection service and the urban nature of the city. These factors combine to reduce the availability of organic waste that is collected.

Current actions to improve Exeter’s recycling performance will focus on increasing participation in the existing schemes and reducing contamination of the materials collected for recycling. The Council will also consider the merits of introducing a separate collection of food waste if it becomes cost-effective to do so, but it currently relies upon placing an emphasis on food waste minimisation and home-composting

2. Background/Introduction 
In 2011/12 36,085 tonnes of household waste was collected by Exeter City Council with a further 12,248 tonnes managed through the Recycling Centres. Of the waste collected by Exeter City 2,735 tonnes were garden waste, 10,326 tonnes were ‘dry’ recyclables and 23,023 tonnes were residual waste. Of the waste managed at the Recycling Centres, 9,696 tonnes were recycled.

Exeter City Council is the Waste Collection Authority (WCA) for Exeter and has responsibility to arrange and manage recycling and composting programmes for household waste collected in Exeter. The avoided disposal cost of material diverted from landfill by or through the recycling activities of the City Council is claimed as a recycling credit from Devon County Council (DCC) as the Waste Disposal Authority (WDA). Item 8

During 2011/12 just over £574,000 was claimed from the WDA for recycling of materials carried out directly by the City Council. This income was used to support the costs of recycling and waste activities. A further £45,500 was claimed by the voluntary groups for the material they collected, which adds to the total recycled in Exeter. Sales of materials from the Material Reclamation Facility and bring banks raised approximately £965,000; this was despite the continuing economic down-turn which has affected consumer purchasing and reduced the amount of packaging available for recycling.

The County Council as WDA operates two Recycling Centres within the city boundaries, these being Exton Road and Pinbrook Road. The £3.5 million new site at Pinbrook Road was opened in June 2011 and serves the eastern part of the city and surrounding hinterland, with Exton Road serving the western part of the city. Exton Road was expanded and refurbished in 2011. These two sites managed 12,250 tonnes of waste in 2011/12, of which 80% was recycled.

3. Policy 
Exeter’s policy is to maximise the quantity and quality of dry recycling collected co-mingled at the kerbside and to process it through the Council’s MRF. This includes: paper, card, steel and aluminium cans, aerosols, and all types of household plastic containers, (bottles, food trays, wraps and bags).

Glass is collected via an extensive system of bring banks as the MRF is not designed to process it mixed with other materials. Additional bring banks for textiles, books/CDs, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, batteries and shoes are provided and serviced by charities and other organisations.

The majority of the city has alternate weekly collections of dry recycling and refuse in 240 litre wheeled bins. The inner city, (5,000 properties) have weekly collections of refuse in black bags and fortnightly collections of recycling in clear plastic bags. Large households have extra refuse allowance.

Garden waste is collected by a subscription-only service in either a 240 litre wheeled bin or a bio-degradable sack. The number of households subscribing to the service has increased steadily, reaching 7,151 in 2011/12. Charging for garden waste has two benefits: the service is paid for only by the people who use it, and it avoids the collection of green waste that can otherwise be dealt with by home composting or taken to a recycling centre.

There is currently no separate collection of food waste in Exeter. This is discussed more fully in Section 4.

Home composting is encouraged through the promotion of composting bins and wormeries at cost price.

There is a comprehensive range of recycling available at the two recycling centres which has been extended with the introduction of mattresses, carpets and hard plastics as a result of the new contract with SITA that started in May 2012.

Exeter City Council operates a successful trade waste recycling collection from approximately 500 customers. About 400 tonnes of good quality recycling is collected per annum (this is not counted in Exeter’s household recycling rate).

Further information can be found at http://www.exeter.gov.uk/recycling

4. Recycling Rate and Waste Arisings 
Exeter is maintaining a steady recycling rate. Although the continuing downturn in the economy and the consequent reduction in consumption produced fewer materials to collect and process, the recycling rate is maintained as there is also a corresponding reduction of waste sent to landfill.

Table 1 05/6  06/7  07/8  08/9  09/10  10/11  11/12 
ECC recycling & composting rate % 30.04 33.86 *35.81 *36.2 *36.2 *36.9 *36.2%

*From Waste Data Flow – this varies slightly from the DAWWRC statistics due to different accounting systems for the MRF stockpile. 

When compared against similar-size local authorities in the Exeter comparator bench marking group (Graphs 1 & 2, Appendix I), it appears that the relatively high dry recycling rate reflects the efficiency of the co-mingled collection in wheeled bins and the wide variety of materials collected. Exeter also has a high dry recycling rate compared to most other Devon districts (Graph 3).

The low composting percentage is a direct result of Exeter’s policy on charging for garden waste collection, rather than offering a free service for all. The composting rate is also affected by the amount of leaves that are collected during the year, as this is included in the composting total – some rural districts collect significantly more than others.

However, when the two indices are combined, this results in a low overall recycling rate when compared with the rest of Devon (Graph 4). It is clear that the main difference between the districts is due to the organic collections, with garden waste in particular adding large tonnages to the overall recycling rate. (Graph 5). Exeter is the only district that does not collect food waste, thus further reducing the tonnage collected for composting/digestion and increasing the differences in the combined recycling rate.

The following excerpt from the DAWWRC 2011- 12 report shows that ‘whilst Waste Collection Authorities’ (WCA) recycling rates in isolation indicate the public’s use of WCA facilities such as kerbside schemes or recycling banks, some residents use a combination of WCA schemes and recycling centres to deal with their household waste. Table 2 compares ‘WCA activity only’ with the combined efforts of ‘WCA services and Recycling Centres’. This table shows a lesser variance between authorities in overall rates suggesting that household participation is broadly in line for all authorities. This data illustrates a narrower range of between 47.1% and 63.2%. 

Screen shot 2016-03-29 at 06.07.29
Household Recycling Rates for Devon’s WCAs

It can be seen from the above graph that when the total level of recycling within the city is considered regardless of facilities which are used (bring bank, kerbside or recycling centre), Exeter recycled 47% in 2011/12. This compares more favourably with some other Districts within Devon.

There are currently no local recycling targets but the UK as a whole is committed to achieving a 50% recycling rate by 2020 as set out in the EU revised Waste Framework Directive 2010. In addition the Municipal Waste Management Strategy for Devon Review sets targets of 60% by 2015 and 65% by 2025.

Exeter’s contribution to achieving this is a local aspiration target of 39% by 2014/15 (Table 3 below).

Screen shot 2016-03-29 at 06.07.37

The 2011/12 target was missed by 0.8% and it is unlikely that the 2012/13 target will be achieved based on results to date this year. As outlined above the recession has had a large impact on the amount of packaging available for recycling, which when combined with the trend for lightweight packaging, produces less total weight Although the amount of customers on the Garden Waste Collection Scheme continues to increase and it remains a profitable service, the amount of garden waste collected and composted remains virtually constant and (Graph 6) shows that the amount of dry recyclables collected from the kerbside is steadily reducing. Under these circumstances increasing the recycling rate remains a challenge.

The system of using National Indicators (NI) to report waste statistics became obsolete on 1 April 2011, although NI’s remain for other areas of local government. Waste NI’s were used to record the percentage of household waste sent for reuse/recycling/composting (NI192) and the residual waste kg per household (NI 192). These statistics are still available through Waste Data Flow and continue to provide a useful tool to LA’s to monitor their progress at a local level.

The reasons for the reduction in kerbside dry recycling tonnages include:
‘Light weighting’ of packages – all packaging companies are aiming to reduce their carbon footprint and one way this can be achieved is to make the packaging lighter. This saves money and carbon on transport as well as production costs.
Paper represents about 60% of the total tonnage sent for recycling. There has been a strong downward trend for paper tonnages during the last three years (Graph 8). This could be due to increased use of the intranet for daily news, and a reduction in the purchasing of magazines, newspapers, etc. due to the economic downturn.
Waste Minimisation – the effectiveness of both national and the local ‘Don’t let Devon go to waste’ awareness campaigns to encourage reduction of all types of waste are having impact it is believed. In addition residents do need to be reminded of what materials can be recycled and to be encouraged to do the right thing.

Food waste collection 
Exeter City is the only WCA in Devon not to collect food waste at the kerbside. There are a number of reasons why this has not been pursued to date, the overriding one being the cost of introducing a separate food waste collection. Other WCAs in Devon have benefited from Government funding in the past to support organic collection but this funding is no longer available. A partnership bid with the County Council to the recent £250 million DCLG fund was considered to support the introduction of food waste collections but this was not submitted as there were concerns as to how the scheme would continue to be funded once Government support ceased. It is unlikely that the scheme would have received funding as only those Councils who were offering a weekly residual waste collection received any Government support.

The cost of introducing a food waste collection is estimated to be in the region of an initial setup cost of £1.1 million capital and annual revenue cost of £1m in the first year and £0.6m thereafter.

Although the introduction of a food waste collection is not being considered in the short term, the viability of such an option will be kept under review. Based on an average collection of 1.7kg/household/week this would equate to approximately 4,600 tonnes per year which would yield an increase of approx 12% on the current recycling rate.

The Exeter Energy from Waste (Efw) plant is progressing well and is due to become operational in June 2014; from that point Exeter’s residual waste will be recovered and no longer go to landfill.

Waste arising 
Total waste arising is an important indicator of the success of waste prevention measures, the top of the Waste Hierarchy. Reducing overall waste (both recycling and landfill waste) reduces the amount of carbon produced and resources used; both of these are important indicators on the road to a sustainable society.

Exeter’s total waste arising kg/head of population has fallen from 335.6 in 2006/7 to 301kg in 2011/12. It is the second lowest in Devon (Graph 7) and the 7th lowest in England. Graph 8 shows it is similarly well placed within the bench marking group. This is in part due to the low levels of garden waste collected which keeps the overall tonnage per head and per household lower than districts which ‘grew’ their waste stream by offering free collections.

Exeter ranks 5th in Devon based on kg residual waste/household (National Indicator 191) as it has comparatively less houses per capita compared to the more rural districts.

5. Further Activities to Improve Recycling Performance 

Schools and students 
A free recycling service continues to be offered to all schools within Exeter. In addition to the actual collection of materials, the Council also provides an educational support service to all participating schools and colleges, including education visits and targeted communications and use of the MRF training room.

The Green Team initiative set up in partnership with the Express and Echo and Gregory Distribution Company has proven to be a successful way of engaging school-children and it has sponsorship for a further year.

The Recycling Department has been working with the University’s Community Liaison Officer in developing better tailored information for students about refuse and recycling collection.

Third Party recycling and material buy in 
Charities, community and voluntary groups continue to collect a significant amount of recyclable materials in the City every year. In 2011/12 this was a total 904 tonnes, representing about 7% of the recycling rate. The Council continues to purchase such material directly from groups and also pays recycling credits to reflect the saving in disposal costs.

Enforcement/Education Officer 
The Enforcement/Education Officer continues to address the issue of contaminated recycling reported by the collection crews. The introduction of the ‘in-cab’ technology in the collection vehicles has made this more accurate and efficient. Problems are initially addressed with a letter explaining the recycling system in Exeter; if the problem continues a visit to the resident follows. By this method contamination levels have been maintained at a relatively low level.

Communications and events 
Communicating the message on recycling and waste minimisation to residents and businesses is an important tool to engender changed behaviour. Graph 10 of the appendix shows there is still a significant amount of materials in the landfill bin which could be recycled. Roadshows, attendance at community events, promoting ‘Don’t let Devon go to waste’ initiatives including social media; and conducting MRF tours all help to get the messages across to the wider community.

The key areas that will be focussed on for 2013/14 and beyond are to:
-maintain the recycling rate as the economic climate continues to affect purchasing choices and companies strive to reduce the weight of their packaging;
-continue to address the clinical waste contamination in the MRF;
– continue to encourage waste minimisation to reduce the amount of waste being produced, and focus on reducing the larger fractions in landfill waste, especially food waste;
– increase the quality of materials collected for recycling by continuing to reduce the contamination levels;
– maintain a high-quality collection service, taking into account rising fuel costs and the financial pressures on Exeter City Council;
– base education drives on sound information from surveys and collection data including using the information from the residual waste survey;
– increase the range of materials collected at the refreshed bring bank sites, and enhance customer use.
– promote compost bin use in early Spring 2013 and another in early Summer.

6. Reason for Recommendation/Conclusion 
Recycling rates within the city have stabilised at around 37% with a target set to achieve 40% by 2015. Actions are being proposed to work towards this target and the City and County Council will continue to work closely together in this respect.

Robert Norley
Assistant Director – Environment (Exeter City Council)

David Whitton
Head of Capital Development and Waste Management

Electoral Divisions: All Exeter City wards 

Local Government Act 1972: List of Background Papers

Contact for enquiries:
Wendy Barratt, Devon County Council,Room No. Room 21, Matford Offices, County Hall, Exeter; and
Simon Hill, Exeter City Council, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter

Background Papers
DateFile Reference
1.Details on File [January 2006 to April 2007] EXM/567
2.DAWRRC Stats report [June 2012]

Graph 1

Graph 2

Graph 3

Graph 4

Graph 5

Graph 6

Graph 7

Graph 8

Graph 9

Graph 10

The minutes of the meeting note:

*29 Recycling Rates in the City
The Board considered the joint report of the Head of Capital Development and Waste Management (Devon County Council) and the Assistant Director Environment (Exeter City Council) (CDW/13/1 – text only | pdf ) on recycling rates in Exeter, general policy on recycling and composting, comparisons with other Devon authorities and other Council s in Exeter s benchmarking group, reasons for differences in performance; and actions to address these differences.

Members discussion points with the officers included:

  • the reasons for the differences of the City compared with the Devon District Councils (relating primarily to their rural nature) and the very favourable comparisons with other comparable cities nationally; the City also performed well in the level of waste produced per capita
  • the limited cost benefit advantages of a dedicated food waste collection service currently under review acknowledging the current cost and limited resources available made it prohibitive at this stage;
  • the current level of weekly collections in the City for certain areas and the need to review more roads for this for example in and around Roberts Road, St Leonards
  • the impact of the new impending Waste to Energy plant in Exeter using the City s waste, diverting it from landfill and proposals for development of a community heating project; the new plant would not impact on recycling rates however;
  • the need for more education in relating to minimising food waste and proper utilisation of green bins especially in respect of the student population in the city; and the need for easy to read or pictorial promotional material;
  • the limited evidence relating to any increase in tipping rates arising from additional charges at the recycling centres. This was however under review and more information would be available in due course.
  • a suggestion that this interesting and informative report should be referred to the City Council s Community Services Scrutiny Committee.

The Committee noted the promotion and support by the Members Funding Group in respect of the subsidy for benefit recipients on the price charged for the bulky waste scheme operated by Exeter City Council. This would, it was hoped, also help alleviate the problem of fly tipping in the City.

It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Sutton and
RESOLVED that the content of the report and progress made to date on recycling within the City and in particular the relatively low waste produced per head of population be noted and that the proposed future actions be endorsed.


#Exeter Board | Domestic food waste collection in Exeter

At a meeting of the Exeter Board – a Joint Committee of Devon County and Exeter City Councils – held on 27 September 2012, the minutes  note that Audaye Elesedy [of Exeter Green Party ]attended and spoke to the Board under the Open Forum arrangements and asked questions about household food waste collection, recycling and recovery in Exeter, and the reasons why it did not take place at present and possibilities for the future. He also referred to grant funding available from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Members noted the excellent recycling rates generally in Devon and the particular problems for food waste collection in an urban environment and the desirability for more education to encourage minimisation of food waste as part of Devon s County Council s waste campaigning.

It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Sutton and

RESOLVED that that the City Council and County Council prepare a note answering Mr Elesedy points which would also be circulated to the Board members.

I’ve now seen a copy of the relevant note, dated 31 October 2012

You may recall that during the Open Forum at the 27 September meeting, the joint Exeter Board was asked a question by Audaye Elesedy about household food waste collection, recycling and recovery in Exeter, the reasons why it did not take place at present, and possibilities for the future.

Members agreed that ECC and DCC prepare a short note which answered the questions.

Accordingly below is the statement in response to the questions raised:

In the Review of the Waste Management Strategy for Devon, the local authorities have acknowledged that the most effective way to recycle domestic food waste is to collect it as a separate material on a weekly basis and send it for anaerobic digestion. it will be an important factor in reaching Municipal Waste Management Strategy recycling targets of 60% by 2014/15, and 65% by 2015/26.

However, at this point in time only East and West Devon District Councils collect food waste separately weekly. Other councils collect it fortnightly mixed with garden and/or cardboard for processing at Devon’s In-Vessel Composting plants.

Anaerobic digestion of food waste is a cost-effective means of dealing with organic waste in terms of processing, but unfortunately changing a collection service to meet this aim can be expensive.

Exeter City Council has estimated the cost of setting up such a scheme in Exeter at £1.1m in capital investment, and a further £600,000 per year in revenue costs [even after reduced waste disposal costs have been taken into account].

When the government’s Department for Communities & Local Government announced its challenge for weekly waste collection earlier this year, Exeter City Council and several other Devon local authorities submitted an expression of interest in the fund. However, the funding would only last for 3 years, after which the additional costs would have to be met by local authorities. Therefore, Exeter City Council decided to withdraw from the bid.

Some councils have added food waste to their existing fortnightly collection schemes. Although this is cheaper than a weekly food waste collection, experience has shown that it is less effective at diverting food waste way from landfill refuse collections. Therefore, Exeter has chosen to concentrate instead on maximising participation in the current kerbside recycling and garden waste collection services. In particular, Exeter recycles a more comprehensive range of plastics than most other councils.