Minister says pay-by-weight waste system will be introduced next year

Denis Naughten also seeking approval for a sharp hike in the price of postage stamps

Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has insisted the pay by weight system for waste will be introduced next year.

Mr Naughten secured Cabinet approval to defer the scheme until negotiations with the waste companies conclude.

He said reports the scheme was “dead” was wrong and insisted the user will pay for waste by mid-year.

Mr Naughten said: “Once we have agreement with the industry we will have to look at implementation.”

The Minister for the Environment said the scheme had to be fair, balanced and must actively drive down the use of waste.

The change to dual billing was to commence in January with customers of waste companies being offered an opportunity to opt in to pay-by-weight collection. This has now been deferred.

Pay-by-weight bin collection was due to be introduced earlier this year having being announced by the former minister for the environment Alan Kelly.

However, it caused one of the major controversies in the early weeks of the new Government and, in a compromise, the new system was deferred by Minister for Housing Simon Coveney.

Since then, the responsibility for waste charges have been transferred to Mr Naughten’s Department.

The plans would have allowed those paying flat charges to change to a pay-by-weight system, based on comparisons outlined on their bill.

However, the Minister has said he does not want to introduce the changes until he has had time to review the system.

Green party councillor for Dublin City Council Ciaran Cuffe said that for the sake of the planet pay per weight bin charges should be introduced.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland that removing the flat fee will be an incentive for people to recycle. "We are awash in packaging and something need to be done."

Mr Naughten was also bringing a memo to Government seeking approval for a sharp hike in the price of postage stamps next year.

If allowed it will be the third increase in the price of postage stamps in the past two years.

The change to stamp prices will mean the Communications Regulator being asked to lift the postal cap from its present level. A standard stamp to Ireland and the EU currently costs 72 cent. That is at least 20 cent lower than the price in many EU countries.

The move to bring in "significant price increases" comes after An Post has said it is necessary to counter falling volumes of mail as well as rising staff costs. among its almost 10,000 employees.

Until now, the State company has been in a position to subsidise the loss from other income but is no longer able to do so, it is understood.

The general secretary of the Irish Postmasters’ Union warned that increasing the price of stamps will reduce the volume of business and threaten the postal service.

Ned O’Hara maintains that the postal service is under threat. “The network is in grave danger that it will disappear.

“We are a key resource for urban and rural communities. We want to do more for communities,” he said on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.

“We need some action. The problems have been well aired. We can provide a wide range of services, we can be one-stop-shops for communities, information hubs. We can do motor tax, we’ve been saying that for years.”

Mr O’Hara said that the Postmasters’ Union is ‘up for the challenge’. “We’ve said we can provide numerous services, we just need to be allowed to do them.”