Tuesday 25 October 2011
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Great Harwood Household Waste Recycling Centre (Lancashire)
The Petition of residents of Great Harwood, Lancashire and others,
Declares that following Lancashire County Council’s budget review and report into household waste recycling centres, there are now plans to close further recycling centres across the county; that it has been announced that Great Harwood is one of the sites that has been identified to close; and that the Petitioners believe that this will inevitably decrease recycling and increase fly-tipping in Great Harwood and the surrounding areas of Lancashire
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to write to Lancashire County Council to ask them to reconsider the proposal to shut the Great Harwood Household Waste Recycling Centre and to keep it open, as it is a vital service to the town and surrounding areas.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Graham Jones, Official Report, 14 September 2011; Vol. 532, c. 1146 .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
All waste disposal authorities are required by section 51 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to provide places where residents of the area can deposit their household waste free of charge.
The Government believe that it is for local authorities to decide how best to meet their legal obligations, taking into account local needs, economic efficiencies and the need to protect the environment. This includes determining the provision and location of individual household waste recycling centres. We also recognise that people feel strongly about their waste services and we want to make it easier for people to do the right thing, with local authorities providing both the kerbside waste collection service and household waste recycling centres to enable people to do this.
While we believe that waste services are a matter for local authorities to develop local solutions that meet the needs and priorities of their communities we will work with councils to support them in delivering this. For example, we believe that better procurement and joint working can improve the efficiency of waste management while improving the frontline service for the public in an affordable and practical manner. DEFRA is working with iESE (Improvement and Efficiency South East) and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) to provide support and advice to local authorities on procurement, partnership working, efficiency checks and cost-effective waste services.
The Government believe that it is better to reward householders for doing the right thing with their waste than to penalise them for doing the wrong thing. It is therefore encouraging councils to reward people who recycle their waste. We are interested in approaches that reward or recognise either individuals or communities and those that can apply in different situations and for a range of collection systems and housing types. DEFRA has provided funding of £500,000 this financial year to 16 projects run by both local authorities and community organisations to introduce or trial new schemes that reward or recognise people or communities for adopting positive behaviours towards managing their waste.
In addition, the Government have committed to removing the disproportionate criminal sanctions currently available for local authorities to use against householders who fail to present their waste for collection correctly and to reduce the maximum level of fines that can be issued under the current Fixed Penalty Notice regime. At the same time we recognise that powers must be available to tackle serious waste crime and we are working with local authorities and the Environment Agency to make it easier to enforce fly-tipping and stop persistent offenders.