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Rubbish Collection (Charging)

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect of variable charging for rubbish collection on levels of fly-tipping. (78244)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of the introduction of variable charging for household waste. (78538)

We have no current plans to introduce charging for household waste. The Government are considering what further steps are needed to tackle household waste as part of the review of the Waste Strategy, which will be published later this year. We are also looking at the spending pressures local authorities face, with regard to waste management, ahead of the comprehensive spending review.

Variable charging is one of a number of tools that could be used to encourage waste minimisation and recycling of household waste. Local authorities already have powers to run incentive schemes or require householders to separate their waste for recycling. Recent research shows that at least half of English local authorities have run, or are running, some form of incentive scheme and some, such as Barnet, require householders to separate their recycling.

Many countries, including some in the European Union, have introduced successful household waste charging schemes, achieving reductions in waste and increases in the separation of waste for recycling. (Evidence from studies of this international experience shows a small increase in fly-tipping incidents when schemes are introduced, but this quickly tails off where schemes are well designed and effective enforcement action is taken.)