Laura Sharman 17 July 2019

Councils need ‘greater flexibility’ to develop waste strategies, MPs say

Local authorities must be given the freedom to develop recycling strategies tailored to the needs of their communities, MPs have said.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has criticised the Government’s Waste Strategy as ‘overly prescriptive’.

The strategy sets out how many recycling bins are needed, the frequency of food and residual waste collections, and requires mandatory free garden waste collection.

In a letter to the under-secretary of state for local government, Rishi Sunak, the committee argued that these requirements are not appropriate for all councils.

Local authorities should retain ‘as much flexibility as possible’ to determine the most effective waste collection strategies for their communities, the letter said.

It also asked for clarity on the funding pledged to support the extra demands placed on local authorities.

Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Clive Betts said: ‘In determining how often waste should be collected, the number of recycling bins or what services should be charged for, the Government appears to have forgotten that what works in rural areas may not be suitable for cities.

‘Local authorities understand what the challenges are in their areas and should be given the freedom to tailor their approach to meet them.’

‘Equally, the Government must ensure that the funding is there that will allow local authorities to rise to the challenge,’ he continued.

‘It will require significant investment to improve recycling infrastructure, and ongoing waste management costs arising from the Government’s proposals will be higher.

‘The Government has indicated it will provide more funding, but they must demonstrate that this will be adequate in the long-term. Local authorities are already struggling, they cannot be expected to shoulder further burden without extra resourcing.’

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