Headlines: August 4th, 2006

LOCAL GOVERNMENT WANTS RADICAL OVERHAUL TO END ‘DISPOSABLE SOCIETY’

 

Local government leaders have set out a four-point plan designed to reduce flytipping and the amount of waste being disposed of in landfill sites. Councils are already using their additional powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act to tackle fly tipping but the Local Government Association says latest figures show waste collection and disposal is one of the key areas of spending pressure faced by authorities, rising at around 3 per cent a year.

In an effort to combat this the LGA has produced what it calls ‘a mini manifesto’ detailing how people, councils and businesses can tackle the escalating levels of waste. The proposals include councils being given discretionary powers to charge households directly for the waste they throw away. There would be lower charges for less waste, which, says the LGA, would mean the polluter paying and behaviour changing.

The manifesto also calls for producer responsibility to mean what it says so that local authorities are recompensed in full for recovering packaging and items like batteries. It says producers and consumers rather than general taxpayers should foot that bill. It also wants to see strong action on throw-away single-use items like disposable nappies and says the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review for 2007 should ensure local authorities have the funding they need to deliver their obligations under European Directives.

Councillor Jim Harker, the vice-chair of the LGA’s Environment Board, said local authorities had led the way in using new technology to crack down on people breaking the law and fly tipping but he said much of the responsibility for preventing the problem should be taken by businesses and local people and not just from councils. “Local authorities must be given the discretionary powers to help encourage people to take more responsibility for the way they throw their rubbish away and produce less waste in the first place,” he said.

People had become used to the disposable society, he said, but there was an urgent need to start changing the way we all live our lives. “There needs to be a radical overhaul of the way in which rubbish is thrown away otherwise there is a real danger that council tax bill will have to rise and the environment will continue to suffer,” he added.