Local schools may face £50 charge for composting

January 7, 2009 11:25 AM

Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, has slammed proposals that could mean local schools having to pay a £50 charge for composting. Under measures consulted on by the Department for Food Environment and Rural Affairs, schools and charities with a compost heap might have to pay £50 to register for an exemption from needing a compost licence.

Research undertaken by Tom Brake has revealed that at least four schools in Carshalton and Wallington would have to pay any new charge.

Andrew Elstone, Deputy Headteacher at Carshalton High School for Girls said, "to tax a school for having a compost heap is quite amazing, education should be about encouraging students to look after their environment and recycle where possible; to tax a school for educating students is preposterous.". Another school, that asked not to be quoted, revealed that due to this charge, plans to introduce a compost heap may be scrapped.

Tom Brake MP said, "This latest proposal to charge £50 for having a compost heap is rubbish! The government should be encouraging schools to educate children about the environmental benefits of composting rather than threatening to saddle schools with new regulations and charges."

Tom Brake has now written to the Secretary of State at the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs calling on the Government to waive this new fee for schools and community groups. The charge would not apply to individuals.

In an email response, a Defra spokeswoman said,

"The consultation on revised waste exemptions from environmental permitting proposed to charge all organisations that register exempt waste operations. The intention of the charging proposal is to allow the Environment Agency to recover the costs of (a) administering the registration system and associated public register and (b) carrying out inspection of exempt waste operations.

No decisions have yet been made whether to introduce charging for some or all registered exempt waste operations and following the formal consultation period we have the opportunity to reconsider how the costs of regulation are recovered taking into account the responses received.

This consultation closed on 23rd October and the review of responses has already commenced. It is hoped that most policy and other decisions will be made by February 2009. A summary of responses to the consultation and the government's response will be published by the end of January and I will let you know when this document is published."

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