A damning report has described the Governments bin charging incentive scheme proposals, as a comprehensive retreat from limited policy outlined last May. The Communities and Local Government Select Committee report (CLG) Refuse Collection: Waste reduction pilots, called for the Government to withdraw its proposals from the Climate Change Bill and reconsider other alternatives. The report referred to plans in the 2007 Waste Strategy and said Government had retreated from them by:
limiting the number of recycling incentive schemes to just five local authority areas
capping the amounts local authorities may offer as incentives or take in charges
and delaying any possibility of allowing England-wide schemes before 2012-13.
The Government appears to lack the courage of its previous convictions that local authorities are best placed to decide what will work in their own areas, the report said.
[Policy] retreat has resulted in a messy compromise that achieves the worst of both worldsmaximum hostile media coverage for a set of pilot schemes that will have only limited impact before EU fines fall due in 2010 and 2013.
We recommend that the Government withdraw its financial incentive pilot proposals from the Climate Change Bill and reconsider devolving the power to introduce schemes to local authorities themselves.
It criticised the need for pilots at all saying that extensive experience from similar schemes across Europe already existed. However, it was not against incentive or charging schemes, but said: It is hard to see why any council will want to set up a complicated charging scheme that earns it no money and risks widespread public disapproval. The Governments decision to seek only five councils appears to reflect the understandable reluctance of local authorities to do so.
Concerns about set up costs of schemes were raised and the availability of Government cash for a national roll out was questioned. Delays to a national roll caused by running pilots first were also highlighted. The report said that this meant future scheme would have no discernable effect on LAs duty to meet European Union landfill diversion targets before penalties fall due in 2010 and 2013.
Read the report in full at: