Recycling and composting targets for 2007/08 could be raised for only the poorest performing local authorities, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said last week.
Increasing the target to 20% for councils currently on the lowest target of 18% was the option preferred by the Government. This would mean that all other local authorities would have their targets unchanged.
The other options outlined in the consultation were: doing nothing; maintaining targets at the 2005/06 levels; and increasing the floor level of recycling to 20% and removing the 30% cap on the highest recycling targets imposed in 2004 while maintaining other targets at the 2005/06 level.
Speaking at the annual Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) conference on the day of the announcement, Defra director for waste management Neil Thornton said: "We need to keep up the emphasis on performance, so the Government will continue to take issue with lower performing authorities."
He did however acknowledge that Defra was "conscious of the huge pressure local authorities are under" and praised LARAC for playing a "key role in the progress" made by local authorities in boosting their recycling and composting rates over the past few years.
Thornton also confirmed that the Waste Implementation Programme (WIP), popular with local authorities in helping them meet their targets, would run for a further two years.