NLA’s Local Authority Officer Gavin Dick talks about the Governments clarification of its waste disposal plan:
The Government last week clarified that waste from student housing has to be picked up by the council for free.
Hard-pressed councils are currently looking at new areas where they can increase revenue streams and one area being reviewed is the collection of waste. This basic service, on which councils were founded, was being perceived as a method to generate income.
The collection of waste from houses is universal and not based on the ability to pay. The removal of waste from British streets also has health benefits and impacts upon all in society.
The proposed charges would see landlords having to pay roughly £100 per week for the collection of waste bins and £100 per week for the collection of recycling waste. To receive a bill for £10,000 a year for the collection of waste would financially ruin many hard-pressed landlords.
There is an urban myth that I would like to dispel. This myth is that students do not contribute to councils or their communities. As a former Councillor I know this is a view popularly held in the corridors of many council halls. Student areas are often vibrant communities where a variety of races, ages and classes mix together. The basis of this view is abhorrent to the NLA and serves only to denigrate a community.
The NLA believes that charging for the collection of waste from students would only be the tip of the iceberg. Councils would be keen to expand the charging to other categories of residents.
The NLA raised the issue with Mr Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, and other interested parliamentarians, explaining the approach being taken by several councils. We welcomed the clarification last Monday by the Government, which explained that councils which have student areas get a grant to cover services used by students such as waste.