Council to hold fire on introducing separate food waste collections across Chichester district

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A lack of information from the government has prompted councillors to agree they should hold fire on plans for food waste collections in Chichester.

During a meeting of the overview & scrutiny committee, district councillors were told that the annual cost of the collections was likely to be between £700,000 and £900,000.

And it would take between 20 and 24 months to get things under way once the council gives the green light.

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Kevin Carter, the council’s divisional manager for contract services, spoke of uncertainty over how changes in legislation would impact local authorities – and uncertainty over any future government funding.

Example of food waste caddyExample of food waste caddy
Example of food waste caddy

He told the meeting that without information about money and time-scales ‘any decision to commence on this path becomes very difficult to make with any degree of certainty of what the outcome will be’.

The council had been raring to go, with £22,500 released from reserves to pay for planning work in July 2022.

Three options were drawn up.

They all included fortnightly collections of recycling and garden waste, with weekly food waste collections and either fortnightly or three-weekly general rubbish collections.

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Concerns were raised by Sarah Sharp (Green, Chichester South) that the council could find itself out of pocket if the government chose not to reimburse any money already spent preparing for the new collections.

A report to the committee echoed those concerns but added that it was hoped that up to £1m would be forthcoming.

Mrs Sharp said: “I think we are in a Catch-22 and we will have to keep a watching brief. Because if we prepare too much, we could be penalised by government.”

More than half of the local authorities in the country already collect food waste.

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Mr Carter said the government had set aside £297m to give to local authorities, even those already collection, as the new legislation was seen as a ‘new burden’.

He added: “It may not be too long down before we get some clear information.”

Back in May 2021, central government consulted on plans to standardise waste collection systems across the country, with one element of proposals to make separate food waste collections mandatory.

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