Local authority bodies have called for councils to be able to charge for the disposal of waste amid the release of a position statement on the Schedule 2 Regulations published by the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and other Government departments affected by the legislation.
Defra is currently reviewing the Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations. Under the regulations, local authorities have the power to charge for the collection of waste from properties such as schools and hospitals. However, councils do not have legal powers to charge for waste treatment or disposal from Schedule 2 premises.
Local Government Association policy officer Clive Harris told MRW that local authorities should be able to charge for disposal. He said that the regulations should be in line with the general principle that those who produce waste should be fully responsible for the costs it creates.
Defras position statement explains that it hopes to encourage local authorities and publicly-funded Schedule 2 organisations to take a pragmatic view and seek to achieve the best overall value for money for the taxpayer. In some cases, this may well be achieved by the use of private waste contractors rather than the local authority.
Harris said: This statement reinforces the current situation and reinforces the fact that everyone works together to continue to lobby to get the regulations changed as soon as possible.
Defra are currently reviewing the regulations with a view to establishing a simpler and more equitable system.
Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee principal policy officer Andrew Craig said: It is a matter of concern for us and something that needs to be sorted out. Allowing local authorities to charge for disposal will keep us going for the shorter term.
Defra CWR project group member and Kent Waste Partnership Manager Paul Vanston added:
The Government's joint statement sends a strong message that needs to be heeded by all publicly funded bodies. It has been a long haul involving a wide range of organisations to get to the current position and there's still some way to go. The challenge now is to support Defra in securing the change in secondary legislation as soon as possible.