The Government must give local authorities the freedom to develop recycling strategies tailored to the needs of their communities if the challenging targets in the Waste Strategy are to be met.
In the letter to the Minister for Local Government, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee criticises the current approach, set out in the Waste Strategy, as overly prescriptive and urges greater flexibility.
The Committee further calls for clarity on the extra funding pledged to support the extra demands placed on local authorities.
It warns that initial investment in infrastructure to boost recycling capacity will need to be followed by proven long-term streams of funding to cover ongoing costs.
The Waste Strategy cannot place extra burdens on local authorities without also providing the means to support them.
Having between 4 and 6 bins outside each home may not always be feasible. Requiring weekly food waste collections and free garden waste collection will cost the Treasury many millions.
Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Clive Betts MP said:
“The Government has recognised the need for a comprehensive Waste Strategy with ambitious targets for improving recycling rates and reducing our impact on the environment.
However, we believe that the Government has set out the wrong approach for achieving these objectives.
The Government should not seek to dictate that which is best determined by local decision makers.
In determining how often waste should be collected, the number of recycling bins or what services should be charged for, the Government appears to have forgotten that what works in rural areas may not be suitable for cities.
Local authorities understand what the challenges are in their areas and should be given the freedom to tailor their approach to meet them.
Equally, the Government must ensure that the funding is there that will allow local authorities to rise to the challenge. It will require significant investment to improve recycling infrastructure, and ongoing waste management costs arising from the Government’s proposals will be higher.
The Government has indicated it will provide more funding, but they must demonstrate that this will be adequate in the long-term.
Local authorities are already struggling, they cannot be expected to shoulder further burden without extra resourcing.”