NLWA calls Defra’s DIY waste announcement a “diversion tactic”


DIY waste

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) calls the recent announcement that all local authorities must provide residents with free DIY waste disposal a “diversion tactic”.

The NLWA, which does not charge for the DIY waste disposal service and runs a free DIY materials reuse scheme for residents, said it was concerned about the UK government’s priorities and criticised what it called a “flip-flop” attitude towards the polluter pays principle.  

NLWA Chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes, questioned the timing of the announcement as the government has not published the results of its delayed consistent collections consultation and there are question marks over its Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the Prime Minister has consulted with ministers about delaying EPR.

Loakes also called the new DIY waste policy small and populist and said it may end up costing council taxpayers more, while EPR would save council taxpayers money. He continued that EPR will help local authorities deliver improved waste reduction, as well as reuse, repair and recycling services and initiatives, and the delivery of the circular economy.

The government must publish its consistent collections reforms and keep its promise to implement EPR in 2024.

“The government must publish its consistent collections reforms and keep its promise to implement EPR in 2024. It is just tinkering at the edges with this far less significant policy, which won’t make a substantial difference to people’s lives,” Cllr Loakes said.

“EPR, on the other hand, will fast-track innovations towards more sustainable products and packaging, which are vital for the nation’s economy and environment in the long-term.”   

Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, described the announcement as questionable and said CIWM is not aware of any research that shows an unequivocal link between charging for waste at HWRCs and increased fly-tipping.

“CIWM feels there are more important issues to be addressed, including increasing recycling and reducing overall waste arisings. By being able to charge, local authorities can provide better services and divert more materials into recycling,” Marshall said.

Local authority criticism of the DIY waste disposal policy

Local Authorities

Commenting on the announcement, Cllr Linda Taylor, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Where councils are no longer able to charge for DIY waste at recycling centres the cost will be passed to all householders, including households that do not have a car and those with no possibility of carrying out building works, for example people living in rented accommodation.

“Evidence from councils and WRAP does not show a link between charges resulting in fly-tipping. We support a crackdown on fly-tipping and that is why we are calling for a review of sentencing guidelines to magistrates to ensure that penalties reflect the seriousness of the offence.

“Manufacturers should also contribute to the costs to councils of clear up, by providing more take-back services so people can hand in sofas, old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones.

“Councils are still waiting for the implementation of EPR, a policy that would see producers take responsibility for much of the waste recycling centres handle, and lessening the burden on waste services.”

Manufacturers should also contribute to the costs to councils of clear up.

LARAC said it is disappointed that Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has announced that charges for the disposal of DIY waste at HWRCs will no longer apply to householders in England. LARAC also said it believes charging is fairer because DIY waste is priced by volume and householders are not restricted in the amounts of DIY and construction waste they can dispose of.

James Ward, Vice Chair for LARAC, commented: “When the consultation was released in 2022, LARAC surveyed its members, and an overwhelming majority of 75% did not approve abolishing the charges. This was reflected in Local Authorities’ consultation responses in 2022.”

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