Local authorities are about to face penalties of as much as £200 per tonne of waste over assembly targeted waste requirements.  The penalties are part of the new waste recycling measures intended to raise recycling to 70 per cent by the year 2025.

Councils say that the potential to be penalized is of great concern and that such penalties could have grave implications for already strapped councils. The ministers have responded by advising that the penalties are only a last resort and that there will be help for councils that appear to be missing the targets.  It is not forgotten, however, that 9 of 22 councils missed targets of just 40 per cent last year.  Those targets were not binding by law.

If the new statutory target were in place last year, those missing councils would have faced thousands and thousands of pounds for penalties.  The targets for 2012 to 2013 will be 52 per cent.

Ministers say that the penalties must be in place in order to keep up the momentum needed to become a recycling society.  Councils say that they are potential victims of their constituency and should not be held responsible for the citizens’ failure to recycle.

The minister’s point out that such would be a failure of leadership and if councils cannot get their constituents to comply, there is something wrong with their ability as leaders.  They say that some councils simply lack the will to work hard enough to achieve the targeted goals.

By Alan