Tighter controls on how much rubbish households can leave out are on the way, following new proposals agreed between town hall chiefs and Whitehall.
The targets – which will apply to almost all councils which collect household rubbish – mean families will be expected to generate less waste and recycle more.
Town halls which fail to meet the targets will be fined under a system devised by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Councils which do not successfully encourage individuals and families to leave out less rubbish will be denied a share of £340 million in grants paid out by the Treasury.
They will also pay more to the Treasury in Labour’s landfill taxes, that are on course to swallow almost £50 from an average council tax bill by 2014.
The new targets for councils mean it will be up to each town hall how they persuade families to reduce their rubbish or increase recycling.
Favoured means of putting pressure on residents in recent years include supplying smaller wheelie bins and the introduction of complex compulsory recycling schemes, accompanied by strict rules that mean people are punished for leaving out extra waste, filling bins too full, and other infractions.
Rule-breakers can be hit with £100 on-the-spot fines or court prosecutions that will give them a criminal record.
Environment Minister Dan Norris told MPs that ’85 percent of local authorities have chosen at least one waste management target as a local priority’.
He said: ‘The policies and practices required for those targets to be met are a matter for individual local authorities to determine.’
Targets agreed by councils so far mean families in different districts will bear different burdens.
In Camden, North London, households will be allowed to leave out 483kg of rubbish a year – just over 9kg a week. But in the East London borough of Havering, the target will be 809kg for each home, nearly 16kg a week.
In Gateshead in the North East, families will be required to recycle 30 percent of their rubbish. But in Leicestershire, the target will be 48.6 percent.
Details of the new rubbish targets were disclosed by ministers just as Labour backed down over plans to make every household keep a kitchen slopbucket in the name of recycling.
The slopbuckets emerged as a Whitehall favourite after public hostility halted the move towards fortnightly collections of rubbish.
Around half the country has fortnightly bin pickups and compulsory recycling – but the spread of the system has stopped in the face of opposition and a voter backlash at council elections.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn last month abandoned the scheme to make every home recycle all its food waste, saying that in new recycling schemes, ‘any obligation to sort waste would fall primarily on the waste collection authority and on businesses, not the individual householder’.
Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman said: ‘Labour’s claims that the frequency of bin collections is a local choice have been exposed as a complete sham. Town halls which want to keep their weekly service now face being fined by Whitehall bureaucrats, forcing up council tax.’
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