Government warns bin companies over costs

Dáil told Coveney to demand explanation for increased charges

Simon Coveney is due tomeet with bin companies next Wednesday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons /The Irish Times

Simon Coveney is due tomeet with bin companies next Wednesday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons /The Irish Times

 

Minister for the Environment Simon Coveney will introduce regulations covering the cost of refuse collection if private companies are seen to take advantage, the Tánaiste has said.

Frances Fitzgerald confirmed in the Dáil on Thursday that Mr Coveney had asked the major waste collection companies to meet him next week to discuss the introduction of pay by weight.

“He will put it up to them to explain their justification for what is happening to cause such significant price increases,’’ she added. “It was never, quite clearly, the spirit of the legislation.’’

She said the Government accepted it was an urgent issue and did not want to see people being exploited in any way.

Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary said 87 per cent of consumers would be paying a awful lot more. There had been a frenzy of coverage showing examples of families who were paying €200 and were now paying €400. Other families paying €360 were now paying €611, and in other case the cost had risen from €420 to €770.

“There is a growing sense of anger and frustration right around the country that, from July 1st, people will be hit by these bills and not given any option to deal with them,’’ he added.

Mr Calleary said the Government should agree to a freeze in the charges until the situation was clarified.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said Fianna Fail were the facilitators of “this incompetence in government’’.

It had transpired that up to 90 per cent of families would pay substantially more for their refuse collection rather than less as had been promised.

Earlier, Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that “Nobody wants another Irish Water” in relation to the charges.

New “per-kilogram” collection fees on black and brown bins are to be introduced but concern has been raised regarding anticipated hikes in annual flat-rate service fees.

“I hope the Minister can make it easier for people,” said Ms O’Connell. “My main concern is that people will start fly tipping rather than pay charges.”

She said she was concerned that people with babies and disposing of nappies along with older people disposing of incontinence material would face much higher charges once bins are charged by weight.

“This is a huge issue. This was all done to encourage people to recycle, to reward recyclers and punish people not recycling to the extent that they could. But no matter what way you swing it, you can’t recycle a nappy,” she said.

Waste collection companies have not yet released a full breakdown of new pricing structures but some details are beginning to emerge through notifications to individual customers.

Greyhound and Thorntons have come in for particular criticism. In the Dáil on Wednesday, Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins said Greyhound is to increase its annual service charge from €59.95 to €169. Thorntons will rise from €50 to €104, she said.