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Barnet to make recycling a must

Residents in the London Borough of Barnet will be subject to compulsory recycling, following a decision by the council's Cabinet.

Barnet will require all residents in the borough's 113,000 houses to place glass bottles, jars, tins, cans, paper and magazines in their recycling box and not their refuse bin.

People who persistently and deliberately fail to recycle will receive warnings, visits from council officers and, finally, formal notices. As a last resort, the council will prosecute residents, who could face a fine of up to £1,000.

This move follows a trial last year among 21,000 households, which saw recycling increase by 18%.

Barnet Cabinet member for the environment Matthew Offord said: "The initial phase of our compulsory scheme has been an out-and-out success and we expect the borough-wide scheme to follow suit."

However, Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said: "It seems quite harsh to be fining people. I would prefer the carrot rather than the stick.

"I would prefer some sort of rebate on Council Tax for those who do recycle rather than a penalty. But the figures show it seems to be having an effect."

Barnet currently has a 27% Government target for recycling for 2005-6, but it has extended this to 30% through a Local Public Service Agreement, which has given it extra funding to roll out the compulsory scheme.

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