Council bosses have urged the Government to reconsider its ‘unrealistic’ waste reform deadline after research found authorities face significant shortfalls to fund the changes.

Two thirds of district councils are not confident about their ability to implement the ‘Simpler Recycling’ plan – which includes collecting a consistent set of dry recyclables and weekly food waste rounds – by the April 2026 deadline, a survey by the District Councils’ Network (DCN) has revealed.

Waste collection authorities face difficult procurement timelines, complex arrangements to dispose of new material, and contract renegotiations to introduce the changes, the survey found.

Based on details of capital allocations published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), councils expect an average shortfall of £210,000 to pay for new vehicles and containers required to introduce weekly food waste collections, the DCN said.

The shortfall does not include the cost of expanding depots – which three quarters of councils said they will need, at an average cost of £1.5m – and which the Government has indicated it will not fund.

DCN environment spokesperson Sarah Nelmes said: ‘The funding currently on offer is nowhere near enough.

‘Unless the Government upholds the longstanding doctrine that it funds the full costs of any new burdens it imposes on councils, hard-pressed councils will have even fewer resources to support our communities.’

This article was originally published by

Sign up here to receive our free weekly news bulletin and quarterly e-book.