Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (168)

Brendan Smith

Question:

168. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce a national waste management bin collection waiver for senior citizens and low income families in view of the fact that many senior citizens and low income families do not have the sufficient financial resources to meet additional household payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12187/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, was published in July 2012. Among the measures included in the policy is the establishment of an interdepartmental working group to report to Government with options to minimise the impact of waste charges on low income households. The working group, which comprises representatives of my Department and the Departments of Social Protection; Public Expenditure and Reform; Finance; and the Tánaiste's Office, submitted its first report to Government on 11 December 2012.  Government considered the report and the working group is to continue to examine the design and implementation of measures to address the issue and will provide a further report to Government by 31 March 2013.

Another measure of the Government’s waste policy is the revision of the current regulatory regime, to ensure, inter alia, that waste collection providers have Customer Charters in place. The Customer Charters will be required clearly to set out information for customers in relation to issues such as charging structures, procedures for dealing with customers who may fall into arrears, and arrangements for switching from one waste collector to another.  I wrote to the waste management industry in September and October, 2012 in relation to the development of such charters and I understand that a number of waste collection providers have already put in place a Customer Charter ahead of the development of the new regulatory regime. I further understand that a number of waste collection operators have notified former local authority customers of the offers and discounts available to those previously in receipt of a local authority waste collection waiver.