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DCLG advises council on ‘unfair’ recycling credit withdrawal

The Department of Community and Local Government (DCGL) has advised a borough council to seek legal advice over the decision of its county council to withdraw financial support for waste collections.

Earlier this year, Lancashire County Council informed Ribble Valley Borough Council that it will stop receiving recycling credits from April 2015.

Ribble Valley was offered a place in a cost-sharing agreement with other neighbouring collection authorities, but this funding regime will change from 2018, as MRW exclusively reported in August.

In a written parliamentary question, Ribble Valley Conservative MP Nigel Evans asked the DCLG whether it had assessed the impact of Lancashire’s decision and if it had plans to support the affected local authorities.

DCLG minister Kris Hopkins replied that the department did not collect data on or estimate the financial effect on councils as a result of the withdrawal of recycling credits, but it had been made aware that those would be considerable in the case of Ribble Valley.

“There are no plans for my department to provide special financial support to district councils in Lancashire, as this change stems from actions of the county council, not the Government,” he said.

“However, we would strongly recommend that Ribble Valley take its own legal advice on this matter, given the county council may potentially be in breach of its legal duties under the 1990 Act.”

The minister added: “It does seem perverse and unfair that the cost of recycling should fall completely on Ribble Valley when, based upon its efforts, Lancashire County Council avoids the costs of disposal to landfill and is able to sell the recyclate material.”

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