Chichester District Council has decided not to take part in the trial run of a food waste collection scheme which is due to start in March.
Some 70 per cent of food waste is seen as avoidable and the scheme, run by the county, would allow councils to test the water and find out how many residents were interested in such a collection.
With the government still to publish the final draft of its Waste Strategy – which should tell authorities what is required of them on such issues – Chichester’s waste and recycling panel recommended that the district should not take part.
It was a view supported by leader Eileen Lintill, at a meeting of the cabinet last Tuesday (September 3), who said: “I think it’s right not to take part at the moment. I think the government is in a state of flux – we don’t know what they’re going to come out with.
“I think it would be foolhardy of us to commit lots of revenue to this until we know exactly what the government are going to do.”
Mrs Lintill added: “I would emphasise that we’re not saying that we don’t believe in food waste collection but the time is not right at the moment.”
West Sussex County Council had asked for two of the second tier councils to take part in the trial, which would initially last six months, covering some 3,000 households.
While the county would cover the cost of the trial, a spokesman for the district said it had ‘not committed’ to continue doing so once it was over.
She added: “At present, we have no way of paying for this service once the trial has ended.
“We are also concerned that the trial would require a change to our waste and recycling collection service. This would involve collecting food waste weekly, dry recycling fortnightly and general waste once every three weeks.
“We are concerned that this could be confusing for residents, and feedback from the government following their Waste Strategy consultation is that this waste collection system is unlikely to be a requirement.
“We believe that the best course of action is to review the results from the trial, and then decide whether it is appropriate to introduce this service and decide how we would operate this.
“Our environment panel has been tasked by cabinet to keep this under review.”
A spokesman for the county said they were not in a position to say which councils would be taking part in the trial.