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Variable charging still an option for ministers

Variable charging for local authorities is definitely being considered by ministers, according to a leading Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) official.

Daniel Instone, who is head of waste strategy at Defra, admitted at the London Rawe event that while it had been raised in the waste strategy consultation as an option, Defra was keen on the idea, but political necessity would make it difficult to introduce.

He said: “[Variable] charging would have a huge impact on waste and recycling. But it is obviously politically controversial. It is something we are considering and we welcome views on it.”

In a quick show of hands, he asked local authority recycling officers in the room whether they would like the option of variable charging, and half expressed interest. However, only two local authority officers believed they would be able to introduce it.

He also said that the waste strategy review would continue to look at whether weight-based targets were the best option for measuring recycling success, and whether other options would be more suitable.

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