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ENVIRONMENT MINISTER EXPLAINS WASTE MANAGEMENT PLANS

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The government's consultation paper on waste management will propose ways to give people an incentive to minimise w...
The government's consultation paper on waste management will propose ways to give people an incentive to minimise waste, environment minister Michael Meacher told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning.

He rejected suggestions in the Daily Telegraph (see below) that there would be a new tax on waste and that large families or people living in areas with poor recycling facilities would pay more.

The consultation paper 'Less Waste More Value' seeks views on raising the proportion of household waste which is recycled and reducing landfill, he said.

Paying for waste collection and disposal via the council tax does not give people an incentive to recycle, he said.

'If you create less rubbish, perhaps you should pay less tax than you do now', Mr Meacher told Today.

He agreed that better recycling facilities, including kerbside collection, would have to be put in place first and said the government was trying to find ways to get local authorities more resources for recycling.

A consultation paper, entitled Less Waste, More Value, being considered by the government proposes taxing households according to how much rubbish they produce, says the report in The Daily Telegraph (p1).

The charge, which would replace the refuse collection element of the council tax, would be designed to encourage people to recycle more domestic waste.

Research carried out for the government shows that richer households produce more waste and would pay£116 a year compared with£33 a year for poorer homes under a variable charge for waste collection.

Mr Meacher said the proposed waste tax was 'a suggestion, not a policy measure', the Telegraph reports. Other suggestions in the consultation paper, which will lead to a new waste strategy at the end of the year, include spending more landfill tax on recycling plants and reducing incineration as a priority.

The proposals were welcomed by Mike Childs, of Friends of the Earth, who said: 'A variable waste tax sounds wacky here but it happens elsewhere. Before you introduce it, you have to make sure people have good access to kerbside collection schemes so they can recycle their cans, paper and plastic. We would have to be sure that some pilot schemes were set up to make sure the tax didn't impact in poor families.'

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