Building Resilience Assessment, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), 2021

 The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) commissioned Ricardo to draft a methodology for stress testing the factors that could impact the delivery of waste services, based on the potential future shock events or major incidences.
The Welsh Government is driving a policy of change with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and, more specific to waste, its Beyond Recycling strategy.

Brexit and COVID have exacerbated the need to consider the impacts of unforeseen events on achieving One Planet Wales. The COVID crisis and Brexit emphasised the necessity to focus on frontline waste service continuity. Local authorities (LAs) are well versed in operational contingency planning, but the double impact has highlighted the sector’s wider vulnerabilities, reinforcing the level of interconnectivity across the waste ecosystem and illustrating that services are only as resilient as the weakest link.

WLGA acknowledged from Ricardo’s proposal that its existing methodologies and innovative approach to remote working (using online workshop tools) provided a very efficient and collaborative solution.

The project with WLGA utilised and refined existing proven tools and processes from Ricardo’s climate adaptation team. Through a series of eight workshops the different principles of a potential stress test methodology were tested. The methodology looked at stakeholder assessment, determining vulnerability to different issues based on sensitivity and adaptive capacity; identified relevant future megatrends; and then considered the level of exposure of different vulnerabilities to these megatrends. Key risks were highlighted and measures were identified to reduce these and increase resilience.  

Closure of international markets, national policies, technology changes, stockpiling, changing householder behaviour all require responses across stakeholders and regulators. WLGA recognised that LAs need to measure the vulnerability of their waste services to an evolving operational environment and build resilience into their services to address the wider systemic issues.

The project will establish a range of potential impacts to services that could occur based upon future shock events or major incidences as part of the performance review.
Related pages:
Waste and resource management strategy
Circular economy
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