Headlines: January 9th, 2007



Local authorities have declared war on waste as new figures show Britain is dumping more household rubbish than any other European country. The Local Government Association is also warning that the country will run out of landfill sites for disposing of refuse in less than a decade and it is stepping up calls for the right to bring in charges as an incentive to cut waste.

Analysis by the LGA shows that UK households are sending more than more than 26.8 million tonnes of rubbish to landfill every year, roughly half a tonne for every home in the country. Those figures mean that Britain is sending million tonnes more waste into landfill than any other country in Europe. Germany, for example, disposes of less than half as much rubbish through landfill in spite of having 25 per cent more people.

Council leaders say that an area the size of Warwick, covering 109 square miles, is already taken up by landfill and they are warning that if the present trend continues unchecked, Britain will run out of landfill space in less than nine years time.

Having launched the War On Waste campaign the LGA will step up its calls for a radical overhaul both of the amount of rubbish British households produce and the ways in which it is thrown away. It says local people, businesses and central government as well as councils all have an important part to play in reducing waste.

Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said central government should give councils ‘save-as-you-throw’ powers to help encourage people to take more responsibility for the way they throw away rubbish. That, he said, could mean cuts in council tax and a separate charge for waste collection. “Councils want a power, not a duty, so authorities can decide what’s best for their local areas. It’s not about paying more it’s about paying in a different way. It’s also fairer because if you throw out less you pay less,” Councillor Bettison explained.

He also stressed the need to ensure that less waste was being produced in the first place and said it was time that manufacturers were made to take responsibility for the life cycle of their products. It was unacceptable that council tax payers were picking up the bill for business.