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School and hospital waste collections could cost local authorities £38M

Waste collection costs for local authorities in England and Wales could increase by £38.8 million if they are requested to collect the 600,000 tonnes of waste from Schedule 2 premises currently collected by commercial operators, new research suggests. Schedule 2 premises include schools, hospitals and charity shops. (See below)

Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations (CWR) sets out the types of waste and premises for which local authorities can make a charge for the collection of household waste.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently reviewing this legislation.

Defra commissioned Enviros Consulting to write the report called Understanding current management arrangements for Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations.

The results of the study will be used to inform debate about any potential changes to Schedule 2 of the CWR 1992.

It found that if councils were requested to collect the 600,000 tonnes of waste from Schedule 2 premises currently collected by commercial operators they would face a 3.1 per cent increase on current collection costs.

According to the CWR local authorities should, if requested to do so, provide a collection service to premises falling under Schedule 2 and they are entitled to charge for the collection of this waste but do not have powers to charge for the costs of its treatment or disposal. Enviros calculated that based on a gate fee of £60 to £80 per tonne, the increase in disposal costs for local authorities treating an additional 400,000 tonnes of waste is estimated at £24m to £32m, a 2.2 per cent to 2.9 per cent potential increase on councils current disposal costs. These estimates do not take into account the planned increases in landfill tax.

The legislation has caused confusion in the industry as local authorities can decide which type of Schedule 2 premises they make a collection charge to. Occasionally different types of
Schedule 2 premises are charged for differently within the same local authority.

Historically, a large proportion of Schedule 2 premises have employed private contractors to manage their waste but with the high cost of disposal some organisations are requesting waste collections from their local authorities to avoid the high costs.

Early next year, Defra will be publicising a consultation package on options to amend the legislation.

Key findings from the report:

A greater proportion of authorities provide a free collection and disposal service to certain types of premises such as self-catering accommodation, public halls, caravan sites and charity shops;

No local authority surveyed gave a free collection and disposal service to private hospitals;

The majority of authorities are charging for collection but not disposal;

There is an estimated 1.15m tonnes of waste arising from Schedule 2 premises across England and Wales;

Of the waste estimated to be arising from Schedule 2 premises:
48% (550,000 tonnes) is estimated to be in the municipal waste stream and 52% (600,000 tonnes) is not collected by authorities in England and Wales but by commercial operators.

Types of premises to which Schedule 2 applies

NHS Hospitals; Private Hospitals

Residential Hostels; Care Homes

Child Care Facilities (pre-school); LEA Schools; Private Schools

Further Education Colleges; Universities

Self Catering Accommodation; Caravan Sites; Campsites

Penal Institutions; Public Halls; Royal Palaces;

Charity Shops; Charities

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