'Waste industry would be firmly put in its place if I was minister' - Alan Kelly

Simon Coveney is seeking advice of Attorney-General over pay-by-weight bin charges

Bin charges, household waste, green bin, Simon Coveney, representatives, bin collection,

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

The former Environment Minister Alan Kelly says if he were still in charge, the waste industry would have been "put in its place" by now.

His comments come as the current Environment Minister Simon Coveney meets with companies again over new pay-by-weight measures.

The new charges are due to come into force on July 1st.

However there are concerns that it could mean a hike in prices for consumers.

Mr Coveney says bin companies will not be able to charge customers more under the new pay-by-weight regime, he is permitted to change the law.

He is suggesting that bin charges are capped for a year, during which time homeowners are made aware of how to save on their bins.

A protest greeted the minister as he arrived at South Dublin County Council this afternoon.

Minister Coveney said he wanted to be able to force bin companies to cap the charges.

While Alan Kelly told Tipp FM the new Government has created the problem.

Opposition parties are to mount two separate challenges to the planned increases in the Oireachtas this week.

An AAA-PBP private members’ motion calling for an immediate ministerial order to prevent companies increasing charges will be brought before the Dáil tomorrow.

Sinn Féin will introduce a separate motion to completely scrap the charges in the Seanad on Wednesday.

The party’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, told Newstalk Breakfast earlier that it wants regulations introduced by former Environment Minister Alan Kelly last January to be annulled.

Introducing a 12-month freeze would only be a temporary solution, as well as legally problematic, she said.

Ms McDonald also expressed concern about the planned banning of waste bags for most customers nationwide.

Under the new system, residents in only some areas will be exempt from using wheelie bins.

“This is causing huge worries for families without front gardens, and in terraced houses,” she said.

The Dublin Central TD called on Seanad members to support the Sinn Féin bill on Wednesday, adding that the party is open to supporting AAA-PBP’s Dáil motion tomorrow.

On the same programme, Niall Killilea of City Bin said the company supported the new charging system as a way to encourage conservation.

Under the scheme, he said, around a third of customers would see their bill decrease.

Another third would face increased charges, but the same proportion would see no change to their fees.

Even greater numbers could save money by changing their waste practices, as the legislation intended, he added.

Mr Killilea estimated that the waste industry has invested close to €10 million in putting weighing and billing systems in place ahead of the introduction of the new regime.