LGA to ‘push’ for scrapping of free garden waste collections

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said it will “press the need for local flexibility in delivering waste collections” in the coming months, “including no requirements to collect garden waste for free”.

Many councils have raised concerns over plans for free garden waste collections

Free garden waste collections across England were included in Defra’s  consistent recycling consultations for England. Defra reasoned in 2021 that introducing a minimum free garden waste service would increase England’s household recycling rate by approximately 5%, citing a WRAP estimate.

While the industry still awaits details over the impact of Defra’s ‘Simpler Recycling’ scheme, “formerly known as consistent recycling”, the LGA’s local infrastructure and net zero board has outlined a string of issues it will be pushing for.

A report to go before the board on Thursday (28 September), says the LGA will “press for the need for local flexibility in delivering waste services, including no requirements to collect garden waste for free, and no requirements in frequency of collection, and flexibility in implementing national ambitions.

The LGA will also seek to “build case for sufficient resources where there are new burdens”.

Defra minister Rebecca Pow has also agreed” to meet the LGA following representations and we are in the process of arranging this,” the report said.


The association has long-called for councils to have “flexibility” in how they deliver waste services.

In 2021, the body raised concerns that councils could face judicial reviews should they not find it possible to collect some recyclables separately, particularly taking aim at garden waste.

In response, Defra said later in 202  “The Environment Act allows some flexibility for local authorities to collect dry recyclable waste streams together and food waste combined with garden waste, to take into account particular local circumstances.”


Elsewhere, the LGA added that it will escalate the case for an “ambitious EPR” system to be implemented by October 2025, “that puts real incentives on industry to reduce unnecessary waste and increase its recyclability.”

It will also push for EPR extension beyond packaging to other waste streams, as a central to waste reduction.

For the deposit return scheme, the LGA said it will make the case for caution amid likely challenges to local collection systems.

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