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Reports in The Daily Mail and Times target Tory-controlled Plymouth council this morning for an "intrusive" questionnaire that it is considering as part of its rubbish collection service.

Plymouth Conservatives are considering asking a minority of the city’s households to name an individual who will be responsible for that household’s recycling in order to make it possible to then prosecute that person if the household fails to recycle or to properly separate different types of rubbish.  Plymouth’s initiative follow an unsuccessful prosecution in Exeter – a prosecution that failed because it was impossible to identify who had been culpable for the ‘offence’.

A spokesman for the council told the Plymouth Herald:

"The letter is something we are working on to try to tackle those who consistently ignore the rules, not something we would send to every household.  The letter, which has not yet been approved, is something we were preparing for those who do not heed initial warnings.  We are looking at a questionnaire which would include more detailed questions, such as how many people are in a household and whether they have any medical needs we need to take into account that will enable us to help them rather than prosecute them.  Prosecution would only be used as a last resort, after education and a series of letters. If they consistently ignore all offers of help we will prosecute them using powers under Environmental Protection Act 1990."

Christine Melsom, of the council tax protest group Is It Fair? told the Daily Mail:

"My advice to people who get these letters is to throw them in the bin. Just make sure it’s the right bin."

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