A top Defra official has reinforced the government’s commitment to cover the costs of national changes to household waste collections which will derive from the Environment Bill.
And, speaking at a recent local authority conference, the official – Chris Preston – also confirmed that a review of the WEEE, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations is first on the list of a range of topics to be revisited by officials.
Mr Preston, deputy director of resources and waste at Defra, reaffirmed the department’s promise not to leave the costs of ‘new burdens’ – some of the measures proposed in the Resources and Waste Strategy – with councils.
Local authorities are facing up to having to deliver free garden waste services and adopt a more organised approach to the collection of materials on a consistent basis. This will be consistent in the sense of what materials are collected but there will remain flexibility in the types of boxes and bins provided, Mr Preston suggested.
He told the local authority recycling officers conference: “There will be no increase in council tax in order to deliver the changes that we make to both consistent collections and food waste collections.”
Many working within local authorities are concerned that the measures the government proposed in December – such as compulsory food waste services, nationally consistent collections and free garden waste services – will incur large costs for councils, especially in conjunction with other national measures like a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) which could remove high value recyclate from kerbside collections.