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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Bin collection charge considered
Rubbish at landfill
The assembly government hopes to reduce waste in landfill sites
A charge to collect black bin rubbish from homes is among measures considered by the Welsh Assembly Government as part of a 20-year environment strategy.

The assembly government said it was considering introducing the charges on household rubbish to reduce waste and encourage recycling.

A decision is not expected to be reached for two years.

Around 20% of household waste is recycled and composted but new laws aim to raise that figure to 46% by 2010.

We will look at the implications of introducing charges...as a way of encouraging people to reduce the amount of waste they produce and recycle
Welsh Assembly Government spokesman

The assembly government also has an aim that by 2026 no additional household waste will be put into landfill sites.

An assembly government spokesman added: "The exercise will consider all the possible implications, including whether the charge would encourage a reduction in waste production and an increase in recycling and composting, if it would have a knock on impact on fly tipping, and the costs.

"There will also be a very strong focus on ensuring disabled people, for example, are not discriminated against if they have difficulty separating their waste."

"Kerbside service"

But Conservative AM Lisa Francis said local authorities would need to provide a "five star" service before they began charging for black bin rubbish collection.

She said: "I would like to see a kerbside service offered where a recycling lorry follows a refuse collection lorry. This is the service they provide in Australia and this encourages people to make more effort to recycle."

The mid and west Wales AM thought the local authorities in her patch did not provide a decent enough service at present to justify a charge but agreed that something needed to be done to stop people "taking advantage".

"At the end of term in towns like Aberystwyth or Lampeter where there are large university populations, you often see houses with up to 30 black bins of rubbish piled up outside because the students are clearing out. A charge would certainly help to prevent this from happening."

Policy clash

Gordon James, assembly campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cymru, welcomed the proposals but worried the environmental strategy would clash with other assembly policies.

"We need to do more to encourage recycling and waste management and charging for black bin collection would be a good incentive," he said.

"The strategy as a whole is a step forward but will it be compromised to fit in with other policies?"

Mother-of-five Mandy Price, who has just begun to recycle but still produces an average of nine bin liners of rubbish a week, said the assembly could not justify introducing such a policy in the wake of council tax rises.

She said: "You pay your council tax for the local authority to come and collect your rubbish, so why should we pay more?"

'Sustainable future'

The 20-year strategy - proposing 62 measures - sets out the assembly government's aims across problems ranging from litter to the effects of global climate change.

Launching the strategy on Wednesday, Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said: "To build a sustainable future for Wales we need to manage the pressures we place on our environment more effectively.

"The strategy encapsulates a broad range of issues - from biodiversity to litter and from climate change to minerals and aggregates."

"It does look like they're serious. There are some big issues to address"

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02 Jul 03 |  South West Wales

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