Martin Ford 05 September 2019

Waste strategy places 'needless burden' on councils, MPs warn

The waste strategy proposed by the Government has come under fire from MPs amid concerns about the burden it could impose upon local authorities.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s report, published today, praises the ambitious targets for recycling it contains but has criticised the approach.

It says more information should be provided by the Government on additional sources of funding for councils, in particular how funds from the ‘extended producer responsibility scheme’ will be passed on to local authorities.

The report highlights that existing recycling infrastructure is ‘inadequate’ to meet future targets and estimates investment of up to £20bn will be needed, and asks central Government, rather than councils or consumers, to pick up the cost.

It also reiterates the committee’s initial findings from its investigation, published in July, criticising rule dictating the number of recycling bins and frequency of collections, and forcing councils to provide a free garden waste service.

The report adds: ‘Waste collection is one of the most tangible services that local communities receive from their councils and it is they who will be accountable at the ballot box.’

Committee Chair Clive Betts said the strategy took the ‘wrong approach’ and ‘should not seek to dictate that which is best determined by local decision makers’.

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

‘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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