Flintshire facing £663,000 fine for missing recycling targets

Flintshire council is facing a £663,000 fine from the Welsh government after missing the 64% recycling target it was set for 2021/22.

Flintshire's recycling rate has fallen in recent years, leading to council warnings of greater enforcement

The council has now warned residents that they face having residual waste collected every three weeks if recycling rates are not improved.

In a cabinet meeting yesterday (14 March), the Labour-controlled authority explained that after recording a 60% recycling rate in 2021/22, it is set to face a fine of £663,000, “a very significant financial risk to the council”.

Discussions are due to take place today between the council and the Welsh government “as to the reason for not achieving the target,” and if the penalty will indeed be levied.

A report which went before the cabinet explained that the Welsh Government will fine councils £200 per tonne by which a local authority falls short of the target amount.

As outlined below, Flintshire’s recycling rate has been declining in recent years, which it says is due to rising waste volumes.

Waste levels

Looking forward, the report explained that for the first two quarters of 2022/23 reported municipal waste arisings have showed an improvement in recycling performance to 63.17%. It added however, that since September 2022 “we have seen increases in the amount of residual waste collected following a sustained decrease in the months April-August”.

This, along with the seasonal decreases in tonnage of recyclable waste, such as garden waste, means that the performance of 63.17% is unlikely to be sustained to the end of the reporting year thus decreasing recycling performance against the statutory target and increasing potential fines.

The council has undertaken a compositional analysis in partnership with Welsh Government to try and understand why it’s recycling rates have fallen.

The report explained that whilst work is still underway to verify the analysis, “the initial results have shown that up to 50% of what is placed in the residual waste (black) bins by residents in Flintshire is recyclable material. Furthermore, 27% of the black bin contents was found to be food waste, a significant amount of which was considered to be in an edible condition.

“The current situation is not sustainable and remains a significant risk to the local authority.”


During the meeting yesterday, Council leader Cllr Ian Roberts warned that unless the situation is improved, three-weekly collections will be introduced.

He warned that a “carrot and stick” method will be taken.

“I will urge people of Flintshire, on the carrot side, to work with us. Let’s get back to where we were and three-weekly collections will be taken off the agenda. Education is important, we are all aware of the climate emergency. Enforcement will be key. If you are presenting your bin over-flowing with the lid open, bags on the top and there is no recycling at all with it, it is a fair indication there is recycled materials in the black bin. In those cases we should consider the enforcement action we will have to take.

“My message is clear, we are extremely grateful to those who follow recycling, but, there is a minority of people who do not follow it. We will monitor the tonnages of recycling that come in at the end of April, May, June, July and possibly August before any decision is made. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​”


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