Bin charges to be frozen for 12 months

Fianna Fáil backs deal to put a stay on introducing a pay-by-weight pricing structure

The looming crisis facing the Government over bin charges has been averted by Fianna Fáil’s decision to support a deal to freeze bills for 12 months.

Minister for Housing and Planning Simon Coveney announced yesterday that an agreement had been reached with management companies to freeze domestic bin charges for a year.

The breakthrough has effectively put a stay on a regulation signed by former minister for the environment Alan Kelly to introduce a pay-by-weight pricing structure for domestic waste collection.

Despite a contention from Mr Kelly that some 87 per cent of customers would see reduced bills, widespread anecdotal evidence emerged in the past few weeks that many households would face substantial hikes.



A number of waste management companies were criticised for “opportunism” as they also increased service charges. There was urgency surrounding Mr Coveney reaching an early solution to the issue, as the new regime was due to commence on July 1st. In addition, the Government faced potentially embarrassing defeats in the Dáil and the Seanad to private members motions tabled by the AAA-PBP Alliance and Sinn Féin respectively.

That made the support of Fianna Fáil for the deal crucial. Sources have said there was regular contact between Mr Coveney and his Fianna Fáil counterpart, Barry Cowen, to broker a compromise.

The Fianna Fáil front bench yesterday met and agreed that enough of its demands had been acceded to. In the Dáil, party leader Micheál Martin welcomed the freeze but also warned more transparency was required, as well as a thorough review of the domestic waste sector. Mr Coveney has not ruled out the possibility of waste collection services being subject to regulation.

The Green Party will support the Government amendment to the AAA-PBP motion when the Dáil votes on it tomorrow. Labour will abstain, assuring a comfortable victory for the Government. The Irish Waste Management Association, the City Bin Co and Greyhound have agreed to freeze charges until June 2017.

In a statement, the Irish Waste Management Association said it had given a commitment that “no householder disposing the same quantities of waste will face any additional charges during the first 12 months of pay by weight”.

Extra charges

Mr Coveney said yesterday the agreement was a good one. “Most important, it is good for households and families. They will get certainty over the next 12 months around refuse charges. The industry has agreed to a freeze.

“It will give time and space to build acceptance and knowledge around pay-by-weight.”

Mr Coveney pointed to a commitment by waste collectors not to impose extra charges on 60,000 carer households where there is disposal of incontinence nappies.

He said the industry would bear the cost of that. He also said the Government has committed to a €1.5 million public information campaign which will explain the benefits of recycling and also how the new pay-by-weight system will work.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times