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Barnet Council denies new recycling system will breach Defra environmental rules
Barnet Council has dismissed as “a red herring” claims that its new recycling system breaches forthcoming environmental regulations.
On Monday, the authority launched its new mixed recycling scheme, under which homes can put plastic, paper, glass and metal in the same blue bin, rather than sorting it into different boxes.
But government rules due to be introduced in 2015 demand that local authorities use separate recycling collections to improve the purity of materials when they come to be used in industry.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday published a letter to all local authorities, reminding them of their duty to meet the guidelines by January 1, 2015.
Barnet Council today denied its new system would be breaking the rules, pointing to a loophole allowing councils to do so if they have a sound business or environmental case to do so.
Under its new in-house system, the authority is aiming to hit recycling targets of up to 50 per cent of the borough’s waste in the coming years.
That figure, the council says, has “plateaud” at 33 per cent in recent years and dropped to 31 per cent in 2012.
DEFRA’s publication yesterday came as “no surprise”, according to a council spokesman, who said the council was “aware” of the regulations.
Councillor Dean Cohen, cabinet member for environment, said: “This is a red herring. The Defra advice is a clear instruction to local authorities to take recycling seriously.
“However it states that separating recyclables is necessary where it is ‘environmentally and economically practicable.’
“The new model of blue bin recycling is being brought in to increase Barnet’s recycling. The system of kerbside separation wasn’t working well enough and resident’s recycling was declining. The new system should be far more environmentally successful.”
The Times Series has contacted Defra for a comment.
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