Use the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ says Farry

North Down Alliance Councillor, Stephen Farry, has called for changes to be made in the local rates system to encourage greater household recycling.

Speaking after the Executive agreed to initiate a detailed consultation called “Financing our Future” to consider the full range of possible funding sources to address the capital investment needs of the public services, Cllr Farry stated:

“The management of waste is perhaps the greatest challenge facing District Councils. As the volume of waste continues to increase, traditional landfill is becoming both environmentally and financially impractical.”

“Councils now have to put in place waste management strategies to cover the next 20 years, to cover waste minimisation, recycling and disposal. Ambitious targets set by the European Union, and endorsed by the NI Assembly, have to be met.”

“The polluter pays principle is a sound one, but at present, it is applied to District Councils as a whole through the landfill tax. It takes no account of relative amount of waste produced by individual households.”

“Household A may be very conscientious waste minimisers and recyclers, while Household B, next door, may be very wasteful. However, based on property prices, they may pay similar, if not identical, rates.”

“Waste management already constitutes the greatest single element of District Rates. But costs are set to rise dramatically in the near future.”

“While education may encourage minimisation and recycling to a considerable extent, it may not do enough to create sufficient public participation.”

“Therefore, consideration should be given to using the rates system, through offering rebates, to give incentives for households to minimise waste and to recycle.”

“It is neither sensible or fair for one household to be responsible while another takes a free-ride. The polluter pays principle should not be a blunt instrument applied to councils as a whole, but applied to the individual household.”

“The forthcoming Review of the Rating System would provide the opportunity for such progressive changes to be made.”


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