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Call for student collection charge laws

The British Property Federation (BPF) has reinforced its call for Government action against councils which levy a charge on the owners of purpose-built student accommodation.

The Government recently said it was aware that some local authorities were wrongly classifying students’ waste as commercial rather than residential. Property owners, both public and private, were passing on the charge to the students.

In August, following the BPF’s initial submission to the Government’s Cutting Red Tape consultation, a spokesperson for Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said this was “in clear breach” of published guidance, but added that civil servants were “working with councils to promote good practice”.

The BPF was invited to elaborate on the issue, and it has suggested the Government goes further and amends Schedule 1 of the Controlled Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2012 Schedule 1 to include an exception for student accommodation.

In its follow-up submission, it estimated that this would save accommodation providers up to £120,000 a year for local authority payments, with costs passed on to 40,000 fewer students.

“We have tried to engage with the Local Government Association to support best practice on this matter, but without success. Therefore, as the letter suggests, it is time to legislate on this to save providers and students arbitrary financial costs on standard waste collection.”

It added that some local authorities fail to engage with student accommodation providers to explain their actions.

The consultation closed on 14 September.

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