Government reveals new waste and recycling requirements - but Adur and Worthing Councils demand more cash
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The government has introduced new rules on waste collections that all local authorities will be required to adopt as part of the Environment Act.
The new rules, called simpler recycling, aim to create consistency in the way recycling, food waste and garden waste are collected across the country, to try to reduce the amount going to landfill.
However, Adur & Worthing Councils have ‘warned the government’ that – without extra financial support – they ‘won’t be able to implement important new legislation’ to improve waste collection and recycling.
A spokesperson added: “The councils declared a climate emergency in 2019 and are committed to improving the environment with schemes such as the Sussex Bay project, Trees for Streets, the roll-out of public electric charging points and active travel initiatives like the Donkey Bike scheme.
"They welcome the changes and the positive impact they will have on the ongoing work to tackle the climate emergency, but have significant concerns about how they will be funded and the timescales involved.”
The scheme will require Adur & Worthing Councils to provide a kerbside food waste collection for businesses and other non domestic premises by March 31, 2025 and for all households by March 31, 2026.
"The government has told the councils it will give them £1,383,680 to cover the cost of kitchen and kerbside caddies for residents to store food waste and for additional vehicles to collect that waste, but the funding falls far short of what is required,” the councils spokesperson added.
"Early analysis suggests the shortfall is as much as £900,000, while the level of funding to run the service on a daily basis, including staff and fuel costs, is yet to be announced by the government.
"If the councils were forced to meet this shortfall themselves it would require them to use a large proportion of their financial reserves or reduce other services to cover the costs.”
The councils have written to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to advise it of the ‘anticipated shortfall’ and state that ‘there is no way’ to implement the new requirements without all costs being covered.
Under the new rules, the councils will also be required to collect soft plastics by March 31, 2027, meaning residents will no longer have to put it in their waste bins or take it to alternative collection points. The councils will be working with West Sussex County Council to implement this change.
Simpler recycling also sets out the requirement for businesses and other non-domestic premises to separate out paper, card, cans, glass, and plastic containers by March 31, 2025.
The spokesperson continued: “The councils already provide a commercial waste recycling service to 1,821 customers and are actively encouraging more businesses to sign up. They also provide a commercial food waste collection service to 44 customers and garden waste collections to almost 20,000 active subscribers.
"The changes brought about by simpler recycling will form part of a new waste plan for Adur and Worthing, which will be subject to meaningful consultation with communities and stakeholders.”
Vicki Wells, Worthing’s cabinet member for the environment, said food waste collection is a ‘priority’ for the town and, in 2022, a service model was costed.
She added: “After extensive delays, the government announcement doesn’t fully fund the scheme which is mandatory from 2026, further placing local authorities like Worthing in financial jeopardy.
"We urge the government to provide complete financial support to help Worthing deliver this service.”
Emma Evans, Adur’s cabinet member for the environment and leisure, said: “We welcome any initiatives that encourage recycling and reduce waste, something that we are already actively promoting through our domestic and commercial waste collection services and via schemes like the community composting scheme in Buckingham Park.
"However, any new services that incur additional costs to the council will need to be fully funded before they can be implemented.”