The Government must urgently make decisions on waste policy and broaden its focus to include reduction, reuse and local priorities, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
In response to the Governments consultation on the Performance Reward Grant funding mechanism for local authorities, it said: Its not all about recycling.
The LGA also wishes to see more focus on and incentives for reduction of overall waste arisings, including reuse, minimisation of waste going to landfill and facilitation of more sustainable management of non-municipal wastes.
And it wanted the Government to move away from short-term targets towards a crystal clear long-term framework. But these decisions must be made urgently so that local authorities and their partners have the clarity they need to deliver on the ground.
While the association supported a statutory minimum recycling level, targets must be framed within an enabling environment that recognised the challenge they posed for some authorities, provided funding and support, and rewarded those authorities whose recycling performance was much higher.
It also believed that statutory performance standards for recycling and composting should only be set as a last resort. Focus should be on providing support and funding to deliver much higher rates.
Local priorities should also play their part in funding decisions. The LGA wanted policy that enabled local authorities to be able to negotiate a package of pooled targets for an area or sub-region that focused on local priorities and was incentivised though Government funding.