Cadogan Enright,

DOWN Cllr Cadogan Enright has raised concerns about the latest plans to give councils the power to issue £100 to those householders who don’t abide by the waste collection arrangements.

The plans, unveiled by Environment Minister Arlene Foster last week, would involve councils issuing fines to those people who disregard the guidelines on waste collection, such as contamination of blue recycling bins.

Councils can already issue notices setting out when and how waste should be left out for collection. Offenders can be prosecuted through the courts, with a maximum fine of £1,000. However, from 7 April councils will be able to issue fixed penalty notices of £100 for low level waste receptacle offences, such as putting the wrong materials in recycling bins.

Cllr Enright said “There has been quite a lot of coverage recently of the problems councils and householders face over the contamination of blue bins. However, I do not think that the threat of a fine is helpful in encouraging people to recycle.

“The eagerness of householders to use their blue bins and recycle their waste must be welcomed and, if anything, the council does not provide the opportunity to recycle enough materials through bin collection. For example, yoghurt pots cannot be placed in the bins, so it isn’t correct that people who are honestly trying to recycle materials which should be recycled are being punished.

Furthermore, the loss of the inter-church recycling scheme in Newcastle means more recyclable materials will end up in landfill. The Council needs to be encouraging people to recycle and facilitating those who do, rather than strictly enforcing collection arrangements. The amount and types of materials which can be recycled should be increased.”

However, I would of course urge all householders to be vigilant in using their bins and to ensure that deliberate contamination does not occur, or that other people do not use recycling bins to dispose of rubbish. The fines announced by Arlene Foster are discretionary so I would urge Down District Council to only use them for serious offences. This way, the Council can continue its very useful collection service and recycling residents are not at risk of prosecution.

Press Cuttings: Enright Urges increase in recycling