Government accused of bins u-turn

The Government was accused of performing a U-turn on rubbish collections today after it was revealed councils will not be forced to bring back weekly bin rounds.





The publication of the long-awaited waste review signalled an end to local authority powers to penalise householders for "trivial" mistakes in putting out bins on the wrong day or putting recycling in the wrong container.



But with the cost of switching from fortnightly rubbish collections to weekly rounds believed to run to hundreds of millions of pounds, the Government was forced to admit it could not deliver on its pledge to ensure more frequent waste services.



Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said ministers wanted to make it easier for the public to recycle at home and on the go, and to remove measures which encouraged councils to cut the scope of collections.



Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said the Government was calling time on the "town hall Taliban", stripping them of their powers to impose "unfair" bin fines and charges.



Mr Pickles had previously pledged to reverse the move to "unpopular and unhygienic" fortnightly rubbish collections by councils and make them bring back weekly bin rounds.



While the Government said it would work with councils to increase the frequency and quality of rubbish rounds, and that the public had a "reasonable expectation" that household waste collections should be weekly, particularly for "smelly" waste, there was no pot of money to help councils make the switch back.



In the Commons, shadow environment minister Jamie Reed criticised the review for containing no waste recycling targets for England and abandoning Labour's plans to move to a "zero-waste Britain", and accused the Government of doing a U-turn on its pledge to enforce weekly collections.



The costs of reverting to weekly bin collections across England are believed to be upwards of £100 million and potentially as much as £500 million.



Councils would be hit by the cost of increased bin rounds and renegotiating waste contracts, as well as the possibility of higher landfill taxes and EU fines for missing waste targets if recycling rates fall and rubbish increases as a result of the changes.



More than half of English councils pick up domestic waste fortnightly - though some have weekly food waste collections - saying it saves money, boosts recycling rates and is widely accepted by residents.



Asked why the Tories were breaking their pledge to bring back weekly rubbish collections, Mrs Spelman said the country's financial situation had been worse than expected when they got into power.



"My department, in common with most departments, had to make some difficult choices, and the public are well aware of that. Realistically we will do what we can.



"In the spirit of localism, central government is all the time looking to enable local councils to respond to local needs, and having a one-size-fits-all policy is not the right answer for that."



However, town halls will be prevented from taking householders to court and imposing £1,000 fines for minor issues such as putting recycling in the wrong box.



Ministers said they would also be looking at reducing fixed penalty notices, which range between £75 and £110, and making sure they were only issued to "neighbours from hell" and the small minority who blight neighbourhoods with rubbish.



The Government has already said it will scrap councils' ability to introduce "pay as you throw" schemes to penalise householders who produce more waste, labelling the measures brought in by Labour as "bin taxes".



Mrs Spelman was unable to say how much of a reduction in the number of fines the changes would deliver, but said councils that fined people for minor mistakes lost the support of the public and the new set-up would "encourage an atmosphere where people want to recycle".



Other measures laid out in the review to reduce waste and boost recycling include incentives for householders who recycle, recycling-on-the-go schemes, better services for businesses and voluntary deals focusing on the hospitality industry, plastic bags, paper, junk mail, textiles and construction waste.



An action plan on anaerobic digestion, a process which can turn food and farm waste into energy, aims to help industry grow in the next few years to deliver green jobs and green energy.



The Government will also consult on introducing landfill restrictions on wood waste and review the case for bringing in landfill bans on other materials including metals, textiles and biodegradable waste.



Six months ago, ministers said they were "not minded" to bring in any landfill restrictions in England for the time being, after the move was considered by the previous Government.



The review also said Government will work with business to encourage more recycled content in packaging and to make packaging more recyclable, will consult on increased targets on packaging producers from 2013 and work to remove barriers to improve energy from waste schemes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - OTE £42,000

£28000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a leading s...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map