Household waste Act on statute book

Royal Assent was granted on 30 October to the Household Waste Recycling Act.1 The measure, introduced as a Private Member's Bill by Labour MP Joan Ruddock, passed through the Lords with no changes.

The Act places a duty on waste collection authorities in England to separately collect at least two types of recyclable waste from households by December 2010 (ENDS Report 341, p 40 ). It is likely to be largely symbolic, as most authorities will probably have kerbside collection schemes in place well before that date.

The Act also requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament by October 2004 on progress towards meeting this requirement and on local authorities' performance against their statutory recycling targets. The Environment Department intends to consult on guidance on implementing the Act early in 2004. Key issues relate to exemptions from the collection duty - notably the interpretation of "unreasonably high" cost of providing the service and the availability of "comparable alternative arrangements".

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