English local authorities to spend extra £200m on waste and recycling

Local authorities in England are set to increase spending on waste and recycling services by up to £200 million in 2017/18 – a five per cent increase on the previous year.

Monthly collections go on trial in Fife
According to data published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) last month, local authorities in England have budgeted a total of £3.6 billion for the next year, taking account charges, fees and sales into account, to pay for waste collection, disposal, and minimisation, trade waste and recycling.

The projected increased spending marks a change of fortunes for those in the local waste and recycling sector coping under significant budgetary pressures after a swathe of spending cuts were enforced on local authorities in 2015, with waste collection and recycling spending dropping off by 12.2 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

The latest predicted expenditure is up from £3.4 billion in 2015/16, with waste disposal expenditure rising from £1.97 billion to £2.17 billion over the last three years, while recycling expenditure has increased to £611 million from £590 million in 2015/16 and £569 million in 2016/17.

Furthermore, waste collection expenditure is predicted to amount to £841 million – more or less the same as the previous three years – while profits from waste trade services have boomed, reversing the small loss recorded in 2016/17 to register a profit of nearly £38 million.

In terms of overall budgetary expenditure across England, budget increases are not equally distributed geographically. Only the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Shire counties experienced an actual budget increase, with an extra £661 million (up 12.9 per cent from 2016/17) for the GLA and an extra £109 million (up 0.4 per cent from 2016/17), while total budgets for Metropolitan Districts, Unitary Authorities, London Boroughs and Shire Districts all fell.

The expenditure for 'Other Authorities' increased significantly by 63.9 per cent, but that can be explained by the expansion of remits of combined metro region authorities.

For a complete breakdown of expenditure for each authority, consult the DCLG’s Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing 2017/18 figures on the government’s website.

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