Local Authorities and the County Surveyors' Society have called for the government to change regulations to allow more efficient and cost effective trade waste collection schemes.
Under current regulations trade waste collected from small businesses and shops is classed as municipal waste. Municipal waste falls under the landfill allowance trading scheme (LATS) which gives councils an annual allowance for sending biodegradable municipal waste to landfill. The allowances are reduced every year and if an authority exceeds its allowance it must either buy more allowances or face a penalty.
Under the Waste Strategy for England 2007, councils are to encourage businesses to recycle. However small scale commercial recyclable waste collections are rarely financially attractive to private waste companies, leaving councils to collect this waste, which adds to their municipal waste stream. With LATS allowances reducing year on year, this extra waste is causing some authorities to exceed their allowance limits, leading to many authorities to see LATS as a disincentive to operate commercial waste collection services to small businesses.
This has led to councils pricing themselves out of the trade waste collection market to reduce the amount of municipal waste they handle meaning that businesses end up paying more than necessary for waste collections.
Despite these concerns, Defra announced in June that plans to consult on revising the definition of municipal waste had been delayed. However suggestions from stakeholders will be drawn into a list of proposals by the Local Government Association (LGA) and submitted at the end of the year to Communities Secretary John Denham, who will then have the final say on which proposals are given the go ahead.
A statement released by Defra said:
"We had planned to have issued a second consultation on changing the definition of municipal waste used in the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) by now but further work is still required.
"Our intention remains to implement any changes ahead of the start of the 2010/11 scheme year but the consultation will now be after the summer."
Posted under General Interest on 18 September 2009