British MPs rubbish proposed law on rubbish removal

July 19th, 2008 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 19 (IANS) If you are in Britain and if your dustbin is untidy, if the rubbish inside exceeds a certain weight, or if the bin is not at a proper place, and so forth, chances are the local councils will not collect your rubbish. The government has come in for ridicule for mooting this proposal, ostensibly to compel householders to reduce their waste.

Currently councils must collect rubbish from home owners unless the bin is not shut properly or if bin bags are left alongside wheelie bins.

Labour is quietly pushing the new rules through parliament without any debate after it proposed amendments to a 130-year-old law which has, until now, made it a statutory duty of local authorities to collect household waste.

The proposed changes amount to a reversal of the basic right of all households to have their rubbish collected, which was enshrined in law by the Public Health Act 1875.

The measures have already passed through two parts of a three-stage scrutiny process in parliament and will become law later this year if they are approved by the standing committee on climate change, which is dominated by Labour MPs.

It comes at a time when the government is already under fire over controversial fortnightly rubbish collections instead of weekly collections, and “pay as you throw” schemes being tried by some councils, in which bins are weighed and penalties imposed on people whose rubbish exceeds set limits.

The government said it wants to change the image of Britain as the “rubbish dump of Europe”. Minister for Climate Change and Waste Joan Ruddock said: “All that has changed is that when a household is given a formal notice, if they don’t abide by it then the council no longer has a duty to collect.”

The Conservatives described the plans as “disgraceful”, adding that bin men will now be able to use “any excuse not to empty your bin”, The Telegraph reports.

Labour MP Ian Gibson who sits on the parliamentary committee which is scrutinising the changes, said: “It is a British way of life to have your bins emptied once a week. Taking that away is like losing your birthright.”

Labour MPs feel the move is bound to further add to the backlash against the government which is already slumping in opinion polls.

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