LARAC: Defra’s claims in DIY waste consultation are ‘misleading’

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In a statement, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) said Defra’s claim that waiving the fee for DIY household waste at HWRC sites “will save households up to £10 per item” is “misleading”.

LARAC says revenue lost by HWRCs will have to “be covered by local taxpayers”, stressing that this “could be seen as an attempt to influence voters during the current cost of living crisis”.

The organization has undertaken a survey of its members on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposals and their potential consequences. The Defra consultation was launched in April, seeking views on do-it-yourself waste charges and booking systems. The deadline is July 4.

LARAC’s findings suggest that 75% of respondents “do not think municipalities should accept this waste for free disposal.” As the proposals will not be covered by New Burdens funding, the cost of covering any loss of revenue, the organization says, will mean that other city service budgets “will have to be cut”.

The survey also found that the number of landfills reported as do-it-yourself waste is below 10%, with LARAC saying it “cannot see how this will have the stated aim of significantly reducing landfills”. The organization added that there is evidence that introducing fees does not increase fly tipping.

The number of respondents who charge a fee and those who do not were roughly equal. Among those who do not charge, 58% limit the volume of do-it-yourself waste disposed of. 15.6% of respondents both charged for and limited the disposal of do-it-yourself waste.

Less than one in five respondents believe that Defra’s proposals to limit the amount of do-it-yourself waste offered through capacity (18% confidence) and frequency (17% confidence) limits are feasible and can be applied.

The organization says that while it can understand that residents should be allowed to dispose of small amounts of do-it-yourself waste, many respondents believe the proposals are too generous and impractical. Many only allow smaller volumes of two to six black bags of material to be disposed of per visit.

Classification of construction waste

If construction waste is reclassified as do-it-yourself waste, and therefore as household waste, LARAC states, then “all waste authorities will need to arrange for a waste management company to collect such waste on at least two of their HWRC sites”, in order to comply with section 51(1)b of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

“Given that they must be collected separately to facilitate efficient recycling,” warns LARAC, “this means that individual skips or containers for each will have to be provided, which could cause space issues at HWRC sites already crowded and increase congestion for residents.

These materials should be registered as waste collected by local authorities (LACW), according to LARAC, as they would be collected via an HWRC site, counting as residual waste if local recycling solutions cannot be arranged.

The organization says this is “contrary to proposals for new environmental targets to support the Resources and Waste Strategy”, which exclude “major mineral waste” – described as “largely inert categories of waste from construction and demolition, and excavation and mining activities”. ‘. LARAC adds that this “contradicts the polluter-pays principle”, imposing “on all local taxpayers the responsibility to cover the costs of treating this waste”.

LARAC also expressed its “concern” that it would be “almost impossible to identify whether the waste delivered was created by a household or by a trader”, which could lead to an increase in the volumes currently disposed of.

The organization said: ‘Traders will leave waste from their business with the household to deal with, or take it to a HWRC site for free disposal, on the pretext that it is their own waste. household. This is at odds with consultations on digital waste tracking and waste hauler registration, which propose tighter controls on DIY waste and who produces it.

LARAC’s investigation found that the proposals could see some HWRCs shut down, non-regulatory waste streams eliminated or containers reduced for household waste and recycling.

The organization concludes: “These proposals appear to be for the convenience of a few households and contrary to the waste hierarchy and established practices in many councils, which have the support of their local communities and are excellent examples of local democracy in stock”.

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