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LGA says waste strategy leaves key questions unanswered

The Local Government Association has greeted yesterdays publication of the Governments Waste Strategy with scepticism.

The LGA claims that the Waste Strategy leaves key questions unanswered.

LGA chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: Councils have argued for an urgent and radical overhaul of the amount of rubbish produced and the way in which it is thrown away.

The Waste Strategy confirms that as a nation we need to radically cut waste but it leaves unanswered vital questions on how to actually do this.

Under the proposals, the environment secretary, David Miliband, pledged that the
UK would recycle 50% of domestic waste by 2020.

However, the LGA has concerns about how to meet the costs of dealing with waste.

Councils are already under huge financial pressure because of the escalating cost of landfill tax and EU laws. The landfill tax paid by local authorities has just increased by a third and could cost councils £33 billion over the next 4 years.

In 2010, councils and taxpayers will face fines of up to £150 for every tonne for rubbish that is sent to landfill above a set limit.

The LGA stresses that the strategy has to work hand in hand with voluntary agreements from manufacturers and retailers to cut packaging and waste.

Around five million tonnes of annual household waste is packaging and it makes up almost one fifth of all household rubbish. The LGA said: Manufacturers need to face the same legal and financial pressures as councils if they are seriously going to be persuaded to cut packaging.

Alternative weekly collections were one aspect of the strategy that was welcomed by the LGA.

In light of the issue of alternative weekly collections, the LGA said: Many councils would be up for separate collections of food waste on a weekly basis if Government, not the council tax payer, were prepared to foot the bill.

Councils need extra money to pay for this, on top of the 10% annual increase it already needs to pay for government targets, taxes and fines.


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