Local authority waste managers have accused the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) of cherry-picking responses to its consultation on charging at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).
On Wednesday, DCLG said it would press ahead with a ban on councils from charging residents for routine use of their local HWRC. Those already imposing fees would have to stop by 2020.
It said: “Rather than trying to introduce ‘back door’ charges, the Government believes councils should be seeking to deliver sensible savings from more joint working, improved procurement, cutting fraud and better property asset management.”
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) says consultation submissions have been ignored and doubts the Government intended to listen to the concerns of the industry.
Lee Marshall, Larac chief executive, said “The Government response to the consultation submissions is very disappointing and appears to cherry-pick the bits it wants from the responses to uphold its stance.
“The fact that there was no clear majority view shows that Larac was right in suggesting roundtable discussion with Government to take the matter forward. The fact this offer has not even been acknowledged, along with the undue haste with which this has been railroaded through, gives the impression that this was a consultation in name only.”
Larac has argued that, although there may be an ability to charge, it does not mean it will widely be taken up by local authorities. It also argues the consultation process falls short of that which local authorities would be expected to undertake.