Leaked waste dossier angers authorities

Councils should have the option of charging individual households for the amount of rubbish the produce but a blanket pay-as-you-throw schemes should not be forced upon those responsible for waste collection.

This was the response of the Local Government Association (LGA) to a leaked report on waste from the No 10 Strategy Unit which appeared in a number of national newspapers at the weekend.

According to press reports, the Prime Minister’s office is arguing the case for pay-as-you-throw pointing to the successful use of economic incentives being used to encourage recycling in other European countries.

The document was also reported to say that variable waster charging typically reduced waste volume by 10%.

Last month the LGA launched its own War on Waste calling on the UK to break its addiction to landfill and pointing to success stories across the Channel for inspiration.

But it is now warning that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for everyone and individual waste authorities should be allowed to make the final decision about whether variable waste charging is right for them.

Instead, it says, councils should be able to introduce their own pay-as-you-throw schemes which are revenue neutral, so that there is no overall increase in council tax and those who recycle more save money.

Councils should only adopt the scheme where there is public support, said the association, and more resources should be made available to take a tough line on fly-tipping following the introduction of any scheme.

“The proposed blanket introduction of waste charging is unhelpful and unnecessary,” said Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the LGA.

“Councils are on the front line in the fight against climate change. Only councils, working on the ground with local people, have the knowledge and expertise to decide how best to encourage residents to understand the consequence of us throwing away more each year and to take more responsibility for their rubbish.

“The one-size-fits-all approach put forward by Number10 flies in the face of devolution and giving local people the chance to have their say on the issues that will affect them.

“Even though two out of three people polled in a survey by the LGA said that they would back a save-as-you-throw scheme, the association favours such initiatives only when a council has checked whether its own residents are happy with such a move.”

Sam Bond

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