WASTE REVIEW: Councils urged to commit to better collection services

Local authorities across England will be encouraged to sign up to a new waste and recycling services commitment to ensure they are delivering collection services that householders are happy with.

The initiative, which was announced by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman at a press briefing on the Government’s Waste Review today (14 June), will be seen by many as a watering down of original plans by ministers to restore weekly bin rounds.

In the days leading up to the Waste Review announcement, rumours broke out in the national press that a £100 million funding pot would be made available to help persuade those councils operating fortnightly collections to revert back to weekly rounds.

But following harsh criticism that the plans would have an adverse impact on recycling rates, government officials reportedly backtracked at the last minute under mounting pressure from virtually all quarters of the environmental sector.

Spelman said that Defra had been working with local government representatives to draw up the charter and that the department would “be encouraging [councils] to design services that will respond to local need”.

She added: “There’s no doubt that waste collection is the most visible service provided by local authorities to households so we believe they deserve regular and reliable collections.”

A series of measures have been announced under the new Waste Review published today. These include the launch of a consultation next year to introduce a landfill ban for wood waste, plus a review on landfill restrictions for metals, textiles and biodegradable materials.

A consultation on increasing recycling targets to 2017 for plastic, steel, aluminium and glass will also be launched and agreed in time for the 2012 Budget. The landfill allowances trading scheme (LATS) will also be scrapped by 2013 as the Government looks to make it easier for councils to collect more trade waste.

A waste prevention plan will be published in 2013 and Spelman revealed that the Government is working with a number of key industries such as the hospitality and toy manufacturing sectors to try and reduce the amount of packaging waste created.

Maxine Perella

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