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Welsh council plans bin tags to avoid £400,000 penalty

Flintshire County Council is to limit household residual waste collections and introduce bin tags in a bid to avoid an estimated £400,000 in fines if the authority misses recycling and landfill targets.

A report to the council’s cabinet committee by transport and streetscene chief officer Steve Jones outlined plans to use a barcode or electronic tag to identify household wheeled black bins for residual waste.

If the cabinet gives final approval on 17 May, any waste not included in the designated bin after 1 September 2017 will not be collected and residents will face a fixed penalty notice.

The report said it was “clearly unfair” that a “sizeable minority of residents” did not fully recycle their waste.

Welsh councils have been given a 64% recycling target by 2019-20, rising to 70% by 2024-25. They face stiff fines if targets are missed, and Flintshire warned that this could lead to a £200,000 penalty based on its current waste arisings.

Failure to meet the Welsh Government’s landfill targets could also result in charges of £200 per tonne of waste over the permitted level. Flintshire said this could result in an additional £200,000 penalty for the authority.

The council’s current recycling rate stands at around 58%. Jones’ report said that, although the majority of residents had “embraced” recycling, some were not recycling at all.

“This is clearly unfair on the residents that do support the service. There has to be a way of ensuring that all residents show citizenship and contribute to our achievement of targets,” it added.

The proposals will be considered at another cabinet meeting next month, along with the results of a public consultation on the waste service currently underway.

Flintshire also wants to cut back on the number of household waste recycling centres as the early indications from a Welsh Government review revealed that the council “has more sites than necessary”.

If the plan fails to drive up recycling, the council will consider moving to three-weekly residual collections.

Most of the 22 Welsh councils undertake fortnightly residual collections. Blaenau Gwent, Powys and Gwenedd have implemented three-weekly collections for all or some selected areas.

At least four other Welsh councils – Conwy County, Bridgend, Torfaen and Ceredigion – have mooted four-weekly collections. Other authorities, such as Monmouthshire and Cardiff, have placed restrictions on the amount of residual waste collected.

According to WRAP, only two other councils in the UK, Falkirk and Bury, have so far chosen to move to three-weekly collections, although several more have put forward plans to follow suit.

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