WYCHAVON District Council looks set to be forced by the government to introduce a food waste collection as part of plans to stop leftovers going to landfill.

A spokesman for the authority said the government’s announcement meant they will now have to look to provide the service to residents, despite it potentially "having a severe impact on our budget".

The government has set out plans, in its Environment Bill, for food waste to be collected separately from general black bin rubbish in all households by 2023. The aim is cut the amount of food wasted and tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

A Press Association investigation found Wychavon District Council was one of 160 councils nationwide that currently do not provide the service for their residents.

If all councils are forced to adopt the scheme, the Press Association found 1.35 million tonnes more food waste would be picked up by 2029, cutting greenhouse gases from food rotting in landfill by an estimated 1.25 million tonnes a year.

Councillor Emma Stokes, executive board member for environment on the authority, said county authorities questioned if the collection service was the best way of tackling food waste, given food waste is sent to the energy from waste plant at Hartlebury.

Cllr Stokes said: “The government consulted on this issue last year and all councils across Worcestershire were united in our response that we question whether weekly food waste collections are the best way of tackling food waste.

"It will lead to more vehicles on the road, cost up to £6 million to introduce across Worcestershire and will have minimal impact on carbon emissions. This is because we do not landfill food waste but send it to the energy from waste plant at Hartlebury where it is used to generate electricity.

“But we are aware the government in its recently published Environment Bill has made it clear it intends to carry on with introducing food waste collections by 2023 and we await the details of that.

"There are still many uncertainties and complex issues we need clarification on but whatever happens, this proposal will need to be fully funded by the government otherwise it will have a severe impact on our budget and have implications for our other services.

“In the meantime, our focus will continue to be on encouraging our residents to reduce their food waste by shopping smarter, learning how to use leftovers and home composting where possible. To support this Wychavon has just allocated £60,000 a year to an ambitious new promise in our new council strategy to cut black bin waste by 10 per cent by 2024.

"Reducing food waste will be an important part of this."

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The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, said it supported ambitions to reduce food waste.

But David Renard, from the LGA, added: “Councils would need to be fully funded to meet new costs from introducing weekly food waste collections.”