Throw waste charging idea in the bin, say councils

Ministers were last night urged to let East Anglian councils decide how to deal with domestic rubbish rather be forced to charge householders through a “pay-as-you-throw' system.

Ministers were last night urged to let East Anglian councils decide how to deal with domestic rubbish rather than be forced to charge householders through a "pay-as-you-throw" system.

Authorities in the region are already pioneering schemes ranging from microchipped wheelie bins to undercover cameras as the battle continues to rid Britain of its tag of "the dustbin of Europe".

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, will today describe a government

proposal for a universal scheme for charging householders for disposing of their waste as "unhelpful and unnecessary".

And it yesterday emerged that South Norfolk District Council refused to be part of a government trial to use information from their microchipped bins to consider charging for rubbish by weight.

The LGA said individual councils should be able to choose whether they adopt their own "save-as-you-throw" scheme as long as there is no overall increase in council tax, there is public support and tough measures are adopted to tackle flytipping.

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The message was backed by Ian Monson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for waste, who favours incentives such as discounts to encourage recycling above imposing charges.

"My personal opinion is that I do not feel charging and using a stick to get people to recycle is the right way forward," he said.

"It can lead to major problems such

as flytipping, and people

putting rubbish in the wrong bins

or other people's bins. Given the

right incentives and the right

schemes, people will partake."

Mr Monson - a member of the Norfolk Waste Partnership - said: "I feel different councils have different problems and you cannot just throw out one instruction to everyone."

South Norfolk Council has been among the pioneers of the microchipped bins so it can see improvements in reducing rubbish going to landfill.

But the council's cabinet member for safeguarding the environment, Philip Waltham, said it would "not be in the interests of residents" for information to be supplied to the government.

Norwich City Council recently announced ambitious multi-million- pound plans to propel it up the league table of recyclers by introducing new green rubbish collections.

And Breckland Council is on the verge of using covert surveillance cameras to catch flytippers as part of its waste strategy.

The LGA's intervention came after media reports about a leaked report by the Number 10 Strategy unit that was circulated to members of the House of Commons liaison committee.

Lord Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "The proposed blanket introduction of waste charging is unhelpful and unnecessary.

"Councils are on the frontline in the fight against climate change. Only councils, working on the ground with local people, have the knowledge and expertise to decide how best to encourage residents to understand the consequence of us throwing away more each year and to take more responsibility for their rubbish."

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