Azara Blog: Government allows councils to charge for waste by household

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Date published: 2007/10/30

The BBC says:

English councils are to be allowed to pilot plans to charge households according to rubbish they throw out.

A full roll-out of the pay-as-you-throw charge was dropped last week, apparently after opposition from No 10.

But powers to pilot the charges are in the Climate Change Bill, leading to Tory claims it had been "slipped out".

It comes as MPs warn the UK could face fines of up to £180m a year from the European Commission if it does not cut the amount of waste dumped in landfill.

The Department for the Environment has said the controversial pay-as-you-throw charges could help reduce this.

Plans outlined earlier this year would be for households to get an annual discount of up to £50 or extra charges of up to £50 depending on rubbish not recycled.

Any rubbish charges would have to be revenue neutral overall - the total amount of money charged by councils would not be able to be increased.

This is ultimately driven by the need to meet EU targets, and is a perfect example of where EU meddling is causing bad policy making. (And why should it be up to the EU how Britain disposes of its waste?) Of course this bad policy making will have one positive side effect, namely that less waste will end up in landfill. But more waste will end up strewn over the landscape, as some irresponsible people try to avoid the charge (they will be a minority, the question is how big a minority).

If this policy was really about making people pay for their waste, then the government would charge for both "recycled" and ordinary waste, since they both carry a cost. Unfortunately the EU ruling elite has decided that "recycled" waste is holy, and all other waste is evil. And unfortunately the EU has the ability to impose it silly views upon Britain.

At least the government is going to consider pilot trials before it imposes this on the entire country. Of course the people who judge whether the pilot trials are a success will all have a vested interest in saying that the trials are a success, since they will either be local councils trying to justify their decision, or worse, be part of the lobby which has foisted this bad policy on the EU in the first place.

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