The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has accused the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) of “cherry picking” consultation submissions that uphold its stance, after the DCLG announced plans to press ahead with legislation to restrict local authorities’ choices for managing over household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs).
The changes will prevent local authorities from charging entry or exit fees for residents using a HWRC service, including any fee regarding the quantity of waste and recycling deposited there.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ran a four week consultation on the proposals, claiming these charges could lead to an increase in fly-tipping and “backyard burning” of waste. (See CIWM Journal Online story)
Half of the respondents to the consultation welcomed the proposal to prevent local authorities charging for use of “discretionary” household waste recycling centres while, and half did not.
Lee Marshall, LARAC – “The Government response to the consultation submissions is very disappointing and appears to cherry-pick the bits it wants from the responses to uphold its stance”
In response, LARAC has said is concerned that consultation submissions have been ignored and questions if the Government had any intention to listen to the concerns of the industry.
LARAC says the result of this legislation means local authorities will have greater restrictions on how they balance budgets with a greater possibility of services being cut.
Lee Marshall, chief executive officer, LARAC, said: “The Government response to the consultation submissions is very disappointing and appears to cherry-pick the bits it wants from the responses to uphold its stance.
“The fact that there was no clear majority view shows that LARAC was right in suggesting roundtable discussion with Government to take the matter forward. The fact this offer has not even been acknowledged, along with the undue haste with which this has been railroaded through, gives the impression that this was a consultation in name only.”
LARAC states that just because there is the ability to charge, it does not mean it will be taken up by local authorities on a wide basis. LARAC also reiterates the fact that the current legislation means all waste disposal authorities are required to and do provide free to use HWRCs in their area.
Steve Lee, CIWM – “The decision to specifically prevent charging for household waste at any HWRC increases the likelihood that more of these sites will be closed in response to in councils’ increasingly tight spending constraints”
LARAC also questions the justification given by the Government that it had undertaken a thorough consultation. LARAC believes that this falls short of the levels of consultation that local authorities would be expected to undertake and that they demonstrated they do undertake in the recent CIWM AEA Ricardo austerity report.
LARAC says that the fact the document states the Government wrote to the “Environmental Standards Agency”, an organisation that does not exist, implies that consultation process was not robust.
Responding to the consultation outcome, CIWM chief executive, Steve Lee, said: “CIWM is disappointed with both the process and the outcome. The decision to specifically prevent charging for household waste at any HWRC increases the likelihood that more of these sites will be closed in response to in councils’ increasingly tight spending constraints.
“We advised that councils and residents should be given the opportunity to decide what works best for them.”