Monday, 4 April 2011

Localism Bill will force local authorities to pay EU fines

A clause in the Localism Bill will mean EU fines for not recycling enough or for air quality will be passed on to local authorities to pay.

In one way this is positive because at the moment the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and NI are responsible for the legislation that underpins the EU's targets but they aren't responsible for paying the fines if they miss them.  But in every other way this is just plain wrong.

Local authorities in England are experiencing big cuts in their block grants - probably the only genuine cuts in the ConDem budget - and at the same time are being expected to do more with that money.  The London Assembly could be expected to pay £300m in EU fines for poor air quality if Cast Iron Dave and Eric Pickles don't get permission from their masters in the EU to delay air quality targets.  Local authorities could be hit with millions of pounds of fines for not meeting EU landfill targets and the money will come out of budgets for libraries, schools, social services, etc.