Universal free garden waste collections ‘unnecessary’

Councils have said government plans to introduce universal free garden waste collections are “unnecessary” and will not tackle the issue of garden waste ending up in landfill.

The LGA wants to work with government to minimise garden waste sent to landfill, but warns the rollout of free garden waste collections is not the answer.

This follows new analysis by the LGA that shows free garden waste rounds could require 600 extra HGV drivers at a time when there is a shortage, and cost local taxpayers more than half a billion pounds every year. 

It warns the extra fossil-fuel consuming refuse trucks would increase carbon emissions at a time when many councils have already declared a climate emergency and want to reduce air pollution.

The LGA says individual councils, with their residents, should be allowed to decide how to carry out waste collections locally and whether the costs of providing additional green waste collections should be met by taxpayers or those who use the service. It also says it is unfair on households without a garden – for example, residents in urban properties – who would be required to foot the bill for those who do.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Environment Spokesperson, said: “We want to work with the Government to reduce green waste being sent to landfill, but introducing blanket free garden waste collections is unnecessary.

“The proposals risk having an adverse impact on local roads, increasing traffic, and pumping out more carbon emissions and making air pollution worse.

“Hundreds of extra HGV drivers would also be needed, at a time when there is a shortage. At the very least, if the Government is to proceed it should fully fund it.”

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