The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) has warned that the latest small rise in the England recycling rates shows that local authority services are struggling to expand further in the face of ongoing budget cuts.
The Regional Household recycling rates, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, revealed that the rate of recycling in English households from March 2014 to March 2015 was 44.7% - an increase of 0.5% since 2013.
The European Union (EU) target is for the UK to recycle at least 50% of its waste by 2020. Recycling rates dropped in London and the East Midlands, where there were declines of 0.8% and 1.2% respectively. The drop represents London's second successive decline.
Larac said that unless support from Government and industry flows into local authorities the UK will miss the 50% target and be at risk of incurring fines from the EU.
The organisation also questioned whether it is right that the burden of meeting these targets is falling on the public purse when budgets have been drastically reduced and funds from producer responsibility schemes do not appear to be making a difference.
Larac chair Andrew Bird said: “Local authority officers continue to work hard to expand and implement new services and the increase in the rate shows they are still doing this.
“However the increases are still small and show the pressure on council budgets is now having an effect. It looks increasingly likely that the public purse will struggle to deliver the 50% so it is time Government and producers stepped in to provide the funds that are needed for new services.”