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Call for residents’ collection preferences to be considered

Welsh council and industry associations have called for the preference of householders and businesses to be taken into account in decisions on the collection of recyclable materials.

The Welsh Government has carried out a consultation on draft guidance on collections, and the TEEP (technically, economically and environmentally practicable) assessment of source segregation of recyclable materials, which closed on 21 July.

In their responses the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and the Welsh Environmental Services Association (WESA) pointed out that the definition of “practicability” included in the draft did not allow the consideration of which collection methods were preferred by businesses or residents.

They argue that local choice is a key element as they influence participation rates.

WESA said: “If local residents or businesses do not support, or do not understand, the collection method which a local authority has put in place, then the quantity of material put out for recycling will be adversely affected, and the material is more likely to be put in the wrong bin, potentially also affecting the quality.”

The WLGA noted that under the Local Government Measure, which sets out guidelines for local governance in Wales, councils must consult local people and take into account their views.

A similar principle was stated in the Welsh Government’s latest plan to for public services, Devolution, Democracy and Delivery: Improving public services for people in Wales.

“WLGA believes that householder and business preferences do and must play a part in determining practicability – to suggest they are not part of the economic practicability assessment is simply wrong,” said the association.

Defra has not issued official guidance on separate collections for English councils. However, WRAP’s Waste Regulations Route Map, which is set to become part of the Environment Agency’s enforcement regime from 2015, also states that householders and businesses preferences are not relevant for the “practicability” test.

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