Livingstone slams 'disastrous' bin taxes

Livingstone warns pay as you throw plans 'flawed'
Livingstone warns pay as you throw plans 'flawed'

Government plans for 'pay as you throw' bin taxes are "flawed" and would not work in the capital, the mayor of London has said.

Ken Livingstone has written to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to warn plans to charge households for excessive waste would be a "disaster" in London.

His intervention comes as part of a Defra consultation on bin taxes. The environment secretary Hilary Benn last week confirmed councils will be allowed to pilot bin taxes.

Plans consider so far would see households receive a £50 discount for recycling throughout the year - or a £50 charge for failing to reduce their waste.


Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said these plans were "flawed" and amounted to "direct charging".

He warned Defra the proposal risked increasing fly-tipping and may not work in London, where half of residents live in flats.

In a submission to Defra, Mr Livingstone said: "The mayor believes the introduction of direct charging would be a disaster for London under current governance arrangements and would have significant negative impacts on neighbouring boroughs, if introduced on a borough by borough basis.

It continued: "The mayor is concerned that by stipulating that only properties of kerbside recycling services would be eligible for incentive schemes, the government excludes nearly 50 per cent of Londoners who live in flats."

A Defra spokeswoman responded to Mr Livingstone's criticisms, saying: "We will publish details of the proposals in due course. Criticism of the proposals is therefore premature."

Friends of the Earth (FoE) maintains councils should be able to offer financial rewards for people that recycle more.

FoE's senior waste campaigner Michael Warhurst said people already pay for other utilities as they use them and pay as you throw taxes have proved successful elsewhere.

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