Pay as you throw plans too ‘timid’

Plans to encourage household recycling through financial incentives are too timid, too complicated and are unlikely to work, the Communities and Local Government select committee has said.

In its July report on refuse collection,1 the Committee says rewards of £20 or £30 a year, as suggested in the government’s current consultation (ENDS Report 389, p 36 ), are "unlikely to prompt mass recycling".

And those paying more are likely to be "more aggrieved than the gainers are pleased" as it will be seen as an extra charge for a service already paid through council tax.

It warns councils are unlikely to want to set up a complex charging scheme that earns "no money and risks widespread public disapproval".

Indeed rather than helping councils, the Committee argues that since ‘revenue-neutral’ does not mean ‘cost-neutral’, high administration and enforcement costs may add further costs which local authorities will have to carry.

Calling for greater clarification, the Committee said more guidance is needed on how to prevent disputes and increased fly-tipping as a result of the schemes.

Regarding controversial alternate weekly collections, the Committee agreed they were suitable for some local authorities, but urged government to develop clear guidance.

It also warned that while research to date has found no evidence of adverse health impacts relating to alternate weekly collection systems, more evidence was needed to persuade the public.

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