More government cash needed to fund new waste and recycling requirements

Released: Wednesday, 07 February 2024

Adur & Worthing Councils have warned the government that without extra financial support important new legislation to improve waste collection and recycling cannot be implemented.

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.

We 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.

We 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 us to provide a kerbside food waste collection for businesses and other non-domestic premises by 31st March 2025 and for all households by 31st March 2026.

The government has said it will give us £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.

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 we were forced to meet this shortfall ourselves it would require us to use a large proportion of our financial reserves or reduce other services to cover the costs.

We 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 we will also be required to collect soft plastics by 31st March 2027, meaning residents will no longer have to put it in their waste bins or take it to alternative collection points. We 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 31st March 2025.

We already provide a commercial waste service to 1,821 customers and are actively encouraging more businesses to sign up for recycling collections. We 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.

Cllr 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.”

Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing's cabinet member for the environment, said:

“Food waste collection is a priority for Worthing and in 2022 a service model was costed. 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.”

Photo: Recycling lorry out on a collection round

Recycling lorry out on a collection round

(PR24-020)

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Page last updated: 27 February 2024

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