Headlines: May 25th, 2007



Vital questions about how to cut dramatically the amount of rubbish being generated have been left unanswered by the Government’s Waste Strategy for England, according to the Local Government Association. It is concerned, too, that recycling targets have been increased and that these will be unreachable without proper investment.

The LGA Chairman, Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, said authorities were already under huge financial pressure because of the rising cost of landfill tax and EU laws. “Councils have argued for an urgent and radical overhaul of the amount of rubbish produced and the way in which it is thrown away. The Waste Strategy confirms that as a nation we need to radically cut waste but it leaves unanswered vital questions on how to actually do this,” he said.

The strategy, announced by the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, proposes incentives for individuals and businesses to recycle waste, imposing greater responsibility on businesses for the environmental impact of their products and a strong emphasis on waste prevention with householders reducing their waste and business helping consumers by, for example, cutting packaging.

In his response Lord Bruce Lockhart said the strategy largely depended on voluntary agreements from manufacturers and retailers to reduce packaging but they needed to face the same legal and financial pressures as councils if they were going to be persuaded to do so.

On the question of charges for household rubbish, he said the government had taken on board the LGA’s view that any charging should not be imposed nationally. “It is vital that any council that considers a ‘save as you throw scheme’ , first guarantees that there will be no overall increase in council tax, that it has public support and tough measures are in place to prevent fly-tipping,” he said. The LGA now plans to work with local authorities to hammer out how such a scheme could work in England.