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RING-FENCE FUNDS TO HIT RECYCLING TARGETS

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Councils need ring-fenced funding, and more of it, to meet waste recycling targets, according to environmental char...
Councils need ring-fenced funding, and more of it, to meet waste recycling targets, according to environmental charity Friends of the Earth.

The call came as part of a large-scale campaign to coincide with World Environment Day, warning that councils will not hit recycling targets.

Currently, councils can apply for a slice of Defra's£135m waste minimisation and recycling fund.

But Claire Wilton, senior waste campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: 'We want waste management money ring-fenced within that. Local authorities do not support this because they want the freedom to spend how they see fit.'

The charity also said the targets cannot be met unless central government provides more direct funding to local authorities. With recycling collection costing around£17 per household each year, the charity estimated that an extra£200m would be needed to achieve council targets.

The government's target is to recycle 25% of municipal waste by next year and 30% by 2010.

Lichfield DC has one of the highest recycling rates in the country. It increased recycling from 33% to 43% during 2002-03.

Lichfield DC corporate director of operational services Ruth Plant said there was a need for 'cross-party political support for any change because it is a sensitive service for local government'.

Dacorum BC waste services manager David Austin said the council was boosting compliance using a 'carrot and stick approach'.

He said: 'If people don't participate [by putting rubbish in the right bins] we won't collect the excess waste outside the bin.'

But the council is on target to reach 27% by the end of this year and 36% by the end of 2005-06.

Mr Austin said ring-fenced funding would help: 'If you are rewarding good service, it should be ring-fenced for the service being provided.'

jennifer.taylor@emap.com

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