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
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power