Council challenges planners on waste issues
6 February 2006
Attempts to meet stringent waste reduction targets are being hampered by current planning laws, according to Northern Ireland`s largest council.
Councillor Peter O`Reilly, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Health and Environmental Services Committee, is calling on central government to play its part and make the provision of adequate waste and recycling storage facilities an integral element of the planning process.
The Council has published best practice guidance on the subject - and wants the new guidelines to be incorporated into both planning and building regulations, and become normal practice across the whole of Northern Ireland.
As councils strive to meet challenging government targets for the reducing and recycling of waste, a simple guide, “Waste and Recycling Storage Requirements”, is being made available to developers, architects, surveyors and building contractors, as well as building control and environmental health officers in other council areas.
“As part of our aim to improve the quality of life for both residents and workers within Belfast, we are actively pursuing measures to minimize the amount of waste placed on pavements for collection. To achieve this objective, all premises need to have adequate storage space to contain waste, including separate storage for dry recyclable material,” explained Councillor O`Reilly.
“Such storage facilities should be considered at the earliest stages of the design process, and developers are advised to consult with the relevant section within the Council before applying for planning permission,” added Councillor O`Reilly.
Following the publication of the new best practice guidelines, the Council now is lobbying the Northern Ireland Building Regulations Advisory Committee (NIBRAC) to ask the Department of Finance and Personnel to consider amending the Building Regulations (NI) 2000 to introduce set mandatory and specific waste storage requirements, as outlined in the publication.
The Council also wants the Planning Service to see the publication as `Best Practice` guidance that would inform the planning process, either through planning approval or by using the guidelines as an informative note on receipt of a relevant planning application.
“This not only would encourage developers to carefully consider the potential waste storage requirements for any new development, extension, or change of use, at the earliest stages of the design process, but it would also lead to greater consistency across the Province, with an agreed planning protocol relevant to all district councils,” said Councillor O`Reilly.
The new guide begins with an overview of waste management issues for anyone engaged in new developments, residential conversions, major extensions to existing buildings, redevelopments and most changes of use.
It goes on to provide guidance on how to calculate waste and recycling storage capacity, and information on storage systems and design requirements, as well as advice on recycling facilities and initiatives. A further section looks at the legislative framework with which Belfast City Council and other local authorities operate, particularly in relation to littering, controlled and hazardous waste and contaminated land.
Detailed appendices give information on design issues relating to wheeled bins, bulk waste storage containers and compactors and balers. A final section looks at the various refuse collection vehicles used both by councils and private contractors, including information on vehicle turning circles to assist in the planning of new developments. There also are lists of useful telephone numbers and website addresses.
Copies of the new guidelines are available from either the Waste Management or Building Control sections of Belfast City Council (telephone 028 9032 0202).
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