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Variable charging rejected

The Government has refused to allow local authorities to charge for waste collection and disposal.
During a discussion of the Clean Neighbourhoods Bill last week, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael insisted that variable charging by weight would not become a reality.
His comments were in reaction to a proposed new clause to the bill that gave local authorities the power to charge, put forward and subsequently withdrawn by Labour MP Paddy Tipping.
The Government's reason for ruling out variable charging was that it wanted to give people incentives to recycle rather than forcing them to do so.
However, Michael applauded the London Borough of Barnet's success in raising recycling rates by threatening residents that repeatedly fail to recycle with a £1,000 fine, something that even the Green Party has described as harsh.
Before making any further changes to its waste strategy, Michael said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was waiting to see whether the pilot incentive schemes that it had just ploughed £5 million into would be successful.
However, Bristol City Council, which offers £200 prizes for recycling households, has admitted the scheme has limited success.
Bristol City Council recycling officer Sean Spencer-Wort said: "Whatever you do to raise awareness and encourage people to recycle, one in four people just is not interested."
The success of variable charging, meanwhile, has proved very successful in Ireland, mainland Europe and the United States.

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