The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is consulting on how household waste recycling centres at risk of closure can stay open, without local authorities resorting to charging residents to dispose of household waste and recycling.
In response to funding cuts, many councils in England have discussed or implemented charges for residents to use household waste and recycling centres (HWRC). That number is increasing, the Department says.
The DCLG says that these charges could lead to an increase in fly-tipping and “backyard burning” of waste.
It also says the charges discourage recycling, and also breach the 2013 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations. It says this could require the UK to establish an entirely independent collection infrastructure for WEEE, which would be “at considerable cost to producers and taxpayers”.
The consultation states: “Long-standing legislation from the Civic Amenities Act 1967 to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 has required local authorities to provide free-to-use household waste recycling centres (‘civic amenity sites’; ‘tips’; or ‘dumps’) for their residents to dispose of household rubbish and recycling. The government’s 2011 waste review upheld this principle…
DCLG – “The government is also concerned these charges will inconvenience residents; increase fly-tipping and back-yard burning; and make recycling harder for people rather than its stated objective of making it easier”
“The government is also concerned these charges will inconvenience residents; increase fly-tipping and back-yard burning; and make recycling harder for people rather than its stated objective of making it easier.
“The government believes that residents should continue to have free access to household waste recycling centres in their local authority area.”
DCLG proposals intend to prevent councils charging entry or exit fees for using a HWRC service, and also any fee regarding the quantity of waste and recycling deposited there.
Councils implementing an existing charge will have until April 2020 to make alternative arrangements for their sites, in case being forced to stop charging residents immediately results in site closures.
Councils will also still be permitted to charge for household waste deposited by non-residents, commercial waste and non-household waste or recycling from both residents and non-residents.
The consultation is due to end on February 18 2015.