under the chairmanship of Jack Cunningham (Lord Cunningham of Felling), a former Cabinet Minister in Tony Blair’s 1997 Government. He was selected for the post through a regional public appointments process.
Secretariat support for the Board will be provided by Renew, an organisation set up to assist businesses looking to maximise the economic opportunities and carbon reductions achievable from the application of low carbon energy and environmental technologies.
Lord Cunningham today said: "Ultimately, the establishment of the board is a clear statement of intent from the public and private sectors that they want to work together to dramatically improve the North East’s waste management processes.
"The region is rich in companies fulfilling our waste processing requirements, but currently they are lacking the framework in which to coordinate activity to operate with maximum effectiveness and with a common goal in mind.
"The Board fills precisely this leadership role and we’re delighted with the buy-in from high level private sector businesses. With their help and support and the backing of the public sector we will ensure the region develops a waste management policy that is fit for the 21st century."
To meet Government targets, 45 per cent of household refuse and 67 per cent of municipal waste will need to be redirected away from landfill by 2015.
This, coupled with a need to reduce national greenhouse gases by ten million tonnes by 2020, predominately through low carbon energy generation, means waste recycling is set to become a key economic growth area. It is one the North East will be ideally placed to capitalise on if it has a coherent strategy in place, said Lord Cunningham.
He added: "There is huge momentum gathering behind the movement to extract maximum value from waste and the North East cannot afford to miss the opportunity."
The Board will play a leading role influencing waste collection and recycling practices, minimising the volume sent to landfill and managing used resources. Its wide-ranging remit will cover household, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition and hazardous wastes.
The Board’s first aim is to develop a coherent Regional Resource Management Plan designed to position the sustainable resource sector as an integral part of emerging proposals for a Regional Strategy.
In addition, the Board will be the main channel of communication between the National Waste Strategy Board and regional partners.
John Barton, Director of Renew, who will be working closely with the Board said: "Once waste is seen as a valuable resource that can be given a second life, its economic potential and job creation opportunities are huge, and the North East Sustainable Resources Board is going to play a key role in helping us unlock those possibilities.
"It’s very exciting to be the first region outside London to establish a sustainable resources board and hopefully it will help us steal a march on other regions wishing to make a virtue out of waste," he added.
The Board’s overall remit has been agreed by a group of around 20 regional organisations from industry, local authorities, Government agencies and academia to ensure every aspect of the sector is represented. The 12 Board members are being picked to best reflect these interests.