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Waste Management

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) incentives and (b) penalties his Department has put in place to encourage local authorities to reduce their waste collection volumes. (138929)

[holding answer 24 May 2007]: The amount of waste collected from households per head is measured under local authority (LA) Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) 84a.

BVPIs have statutory performance targets and are monitored by the Audit Commission. As a standardised suite of performance indicators, BVPIs help central Government and the public to monitor, analyse and compare the achievements of a local authority.

Action to reduce the amount of waste produced in the first instance, and therefore collected by local authorities, is driven by regional and local strategies and supported by nationally funded programmes.

In addition, the Government are providing funding and support to local authorities to help them promote and develop more sustainable waste management practices such as recycling, reuse and waste minimisation.

The Waste Minimisation Programme run by the Defra-funded Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) is working to stem the growth of household waste. This is part of a package of measures to enable the UK to meet the requirements of the landfill directive and move towards sustainable waste management.

As part of the Waste Minimisation Programme, WRAP is working with 13 major retailers to reduce the amount of waste from supermarkets. This includes looking at ways to redesign packaging as well as providing support for research and development into waste minimisation. It is also working with local authorities to establish greater participation in recycling and home composting. This is achieved by WRAP through a variety of means, for example through local authority advice and training; food waste collection trials with selected local authorities; funding support for local authority campaigns to boost recycling participation in their areas; and a targeted National Home Composting Programme.

The review of England's Waste Strategy, due to be published on 24 May will also put forward a range of measures to reduce household waste and build on recent improvements in household recycling. The consultation on the review proposed target increases for household waste recycling to 40 per cent. by 2010, 45 per cent. by 2015 and 50 per cent. by 2020.

Local authorities have received £45 million in 2005-06, £105 million in 2006-07 and £110 million in 2007-08 under the waste performance and efficiency grant to help them develop new and more efficient ways to deliver waste reduction and increase recycling.

There are no specific penalties to encourage local authorities to reduce their collected waste volumes. The Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme (LATS) places limits on the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that local authorities can landfill. Local authorities that exceed limits are liable to a penalty of £150 per tonne. Minimising municipal waste arisings helps local authorities meet their LATS obligations and so avoid penalties.