03-05-2010, 01:12 AM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Council to launch pilot scheme that could pave the way for national bin taxes
Quote:The first pay-as-you-throw rubbish scheme is to be launched this year, raising fears of nationwide bin taxes.
Under the controversial plans, binmen will weigh each household’s weekly rubbish, with the council paying cash ‘rewards’ to the least wasteful homes.
Town hall chiefs say the scheme is designed to encourage green behaviour. And they insist those who continue to fill their dustbins will not be fined.
But critics say the pilot will lead to a system of rubbish incentives and fines in which large families pay more to have their bins emptied and electronic microchip ‘spies’ are placed in every wheelie bin.
Labour’s plans to boost recycling by encouraging pay-as-you-throw schemes were dealt a setback last year when no councils came forward to run trials.
Now the Liberal Democrat-run Bristol City Council is applying to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs for permission to trial a voluntary scheme.
Under the local authority’s plans, residents of 2,362 homes in the city will be invited to take part in a sixmonth pilot.
Volunteers will be given a microchipped wheelie bin so the amount they throw out can be weighed and recorded, and the amount of waste per person calculated.
Residents will get cash payments depending on how much they manage to reduce their waste.
Gary Hopkins, the council’s environment spokesman, said: ‘The scheme will encourage residents to think about what they are throwing away and act as a thank you to those who help us by reducing their waste.
‘It will be completely voluntary, so people only sign up to it if they want to take part. There will be no penalty for participants who don’t manage to reduce their waste.’
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council is already running a scheme in which residents are rewarded for recycling with vouchers they can spend in local stores.
The Tory authority won the backing of David Cameron for its incentive scheme. But if Bristol gets the go-ahead, it will be the first council to provide cash incentives for those who cut the amount of rubbish they send to landfill.
A Defra spokesman said: ‘We expect to receive a proposal on Monday by Bristol City Council to pilot rewarding people for reducing their waste.
'We understand that people will be able to opt into the scheme, and will consider the proposal carefully and the impacts on people and the environment before deciding whether it can go ahead.’
Defra was hoping to run five pay-as-you-throw pilots this year. However, out of 100 town halls, none was willing to risk introducing a potentially unpopular scheme.
The Conservatives’ local government spokesman Caroline Spelman said: ‘There’s a clear benefit in piloting genuine rewards in voluntary schemes to help people go green.
‘However, Labour ministers are still planning to impose bin taxes in any Labour fourth term, despite the unwillingness of councils to play ball.
‘Labour intend to impose bin taxes through back-door routes such as unelected Joint Waste Authorities and making them compulsory in so-called eco-towns.’
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara
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