Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Question 184: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the plans he has to introduce a national waste waiver system through local authorities for low income households; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31003/06]
Waste management services have traditionally been provided at a local level, with individual arrangements being locally determined and tailored to local circumstances. The present legal framework, as determined by the Oireachtas, reflects this. In accordance with section 52 of the Protection of the Environment Act 2003, the determination of waste management charges, and any associated waiver scheme, is a matter for the relevant local authority, where it acts as the service provider. Similarly, where a private operator provides the collection service, it is a matter for that operator to determine charges. I have asked local authorities to engage with commercial waste collectors to agree on arrangements to assist lower-income households by offering alternative payment methods to an annual lump-sum.
I have also recently published a consultation paper on the possible economic regulation of the waste sector. Submissions have been invited on whether there is a need for a regulator for the sector, on what model of regulator might be most appropriate and on what powers any such regulator should be given. Among the possible powers discussed in the paper is the power to impose a public service obligation which might facilitate the provision of a waste collection service to households where there is a geographical or financial barrier to service provision. When I have considered submissions in response to the consultation I will determine what policy proposals to take forward.