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Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on waste management: fees and charges, what powers local authorities have to require payment for the provision of bin bags; and what steps local authorities may take in instances of non-payment; (199505)

(2) whether residents may utilise bin bags from other sources without incurring the local authority charge in areas where local authorities charge for the provision of bin bags as waste receptacles.

As I stated in my reply of 30 October 2007, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 46, allows waste collection authorities to require occupiers to place waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number specified. Bin bags are considered a ‘receptacle’ under the Act. Waste collection authorities may:

(i) provide the receptacles free of charge;

(ii) provide the receptacles and ask the occupier to pay for them;

(iii) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself if he does not agree to pay for them within a specified period; or

(iv) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself from the outset.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on Waste Management: Fees and Charges, what obligation there is upon the relevant waste collection authority to collect domestic waste put out in receptacles other than those provided by the local authority in those areas where local authorities make a charge for the provision of waste receptacles. (199507)

Under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities (LAs) have a general duty to collect household waste. Section 46 of that Act gives LAs powers to determine arrangements for collection, such as the size, number and placing of receptacles for collection. As DEFRA advised in a letter of August 2005 to LAs, where an authority uses its section 46 powers to prescribe such arrangements and a resident does not comply with those requirements, an LA has no further duty to collect their waste, other than the duty to keep relevant land clear of litter and refuse.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have (a) held discussions with and (b) expressed an interest to his Department on levying new charges for the collection of household waste. (199584)

My Department is currently considering the appropriate process for waste collection authorities to express an interest in running a pilot waste incentive scheme. Timings for this process will be subject to parliamentary progress on the Climate Change Bill. In the meantime, we continue to encourage and welcome authorities making inquiries on the implications of the legislation.

As is to be expected with any policy development, my officials and I have had a range of meetings with a variety of stakeholders on the powers provided in the Climate Change Bill for up to five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether joint waste authorities will have powers to impose new charges for the collection of household rubbish. (199656)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow up to five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

A joint waste authority (JWA) would be able to put forward a proposal to pilot a waste incentive scheme in its area if it had responsibility for waste collection. A JWA would only be set up following a unanimous request from member local authorities and a local public consultation. A consultation on draft regulations and draft guidance regarding proposals for JWAs was published on 17 March 2008.