Council rejects bin fine plea

A Norfolk council yesterday rejected government demands that its microchipped wheelie bins be used to levy fines on people dumping too much waste.

A Norfolk council yesterday rejected government demands that its microchipped wheelie bins be used to levy fines on people dumping too much waste.

And South Norfolk Council said it would fight any attempt to overrule them if the government decides to press ahead with a pay-by-weight refuse tax.

The council is one of the first local authorities in the country to introduce microchipped bins, which record the weight of material being emptied into refuse vehicles.

In August council leaders had to allay residents' fears that the bins would be used to impose fines on householders who dumped too much non-recyclable rubbish.

That came to light as the government announced plans to pilot a pay-by-weight scheme, but council officials told the EDP that the microchipping was purely there to improve recycling rates.

And yesterday the council announced it had flatly refused to take part in the government's consultation on pay-by-weight refuse schemes.

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The study, by an independent consultancy firm, is expected to feed back information on how much people throw out first to Defra, but also possibly to the Treasury for tax-collecting purposes.

Philip Waltham, cabinet member for environment, said: “We told them no. We are totally opposed to the information we are being asked for being used to trial or model future pay-by-weight schemes.

“Pay-by-weight is a tax and we are implacably opposed to it. Our residents cannot afford it and they don't want it either.

“The information stays with us and goes no further. We are not spying on anybody, we are making an effort to discover just how much is being recycled by South Norfolk as a whole.

“We would urge other councils approached about this to take a stand and also refuse to be part of it.

“Government should be under no illusions that we and our residents are at one on this. We will fight any attempt to introduce pay-by-weight.”