Minister seeks legal advice on mandatory cap on bin charges

Environment Minister Simon Coveney is seeking legal advice on introducing a mandatory cap on bin charges.

Mr Coveney is due to bring plans on the new pay-by-weight system to cabinet tomorrow before the new charges are introduced on July 1. 

The Minister is also due to speak with members of the waste industry tonight after meeting with them on Friday.

Speaking at South Dublin County Council offices ahead of a council meeting this afternoon he said his job is to ensure that the new system is not being abused or used as a way of increasing charges.

"That's why I have asked the industry to agree to a cap on charges so that we can reassure people that nobody would pay more next year than they would this year," he said.

"If you ask people who are currently operating on a pay-by-weight system, and about 20% of households are, very few of them would change away from that now.

"I would like the reassurance for households that no one is going to get ripped off here, no one is going to be asked to pay more next year than this year and during that period would create an acceptance of a new system."

He said there is currently a lack of trust in the new system and there is now a need assure people.

"I think we can do that by requiring that a cap be put in place," Mr Coveney said.

"But it is not as straight forward as that because there are legalities there that we need to get through, we are not simply going to ask the industry on a voluntary basis to to this.

"I want to be sure that what we ask for is actually followed through on and from that perspective I have to take a little bit more advice from the Attorney General's office this evening."

He added that the new system would require a change of attitude but in the long run the pay-by-weight charges would save households money.

“We are transitioning from what we have at the moment which in some cases is flat rate charges, in come cases a lift charge and in other cases there is already a pay-by-weight charge in.

"We want companies to offer some element of pay-by-weight in their charge, it's good for the environment, it's good for households because by recycling and reusing waste they can reduce their charge. It's good for landfill because we want to reduce the volumes of unnecessary material going into landfill," Mr Coveney said.

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