The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) opened its consultation 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.
LARAC has queried the status of the document, asking whether it is a formal consultation and pointing out the short timescales that DCLG have allocated for responding to such a major proposal.
LARAC has made the point that the legislation is clear that all WDAs have to and will provide free to use HWRC provision but that in the current funding climate tough choices have to be made, which may mean charging for some HWRC services but this is ultimately better than losing those services altogether.
As part of its submission LARAC has suggested that roundtable discussions with relevant government departments and the likes of NAWDO, LGA and CIWM take place so that development of waste services in the new economic conditions can be understood by all and taken forward.
LARAC also highlight the government’s programme of localism and state they believe that the proposal from DCLG goes against this concept of local determination in conjunction with local residents.
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”.
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.