HOMEOWNERS in the county will be spared fines for failing to recycle their waste even if new government powers are handed to councils.

Cllr David Shakespeare, pictured, leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, told its AGM last Thursday that charging householders in relation to their refuse and recycling rates was just another unfair tax.

New powers to ensure residents are doing their bit at home were proposed last week by the Government.

If approved, they would give councils the option of fining householders who don't apply themselves to recycling schemes fully.

But Cllr Shakespeare ruled this out for the meanwhile at least.

He said: "As usual with the Labour Government they make their announcement with no idea of detail and no idea of how it is going to work.

"It sounds extremely Orwellian to me and I shy away from inviting anymore tax for our council taxpayers."

Cllr Shakespeare said only when there was more information would the council vote on the issue and take appropriate action.

The proposals are currently going through public consultation and, if approved, councils would not be allowed to keep money collected from fines.

Cash awards could also be offered to those who recycle well. Currently authorities are banned from introducing cash incentives, but the proposals would lift this if approved.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who did not wish to be named, said: "There is no compulsion and there will be no compulsion on any local authority to adopt this.

"As with every other waste management option, it is entirely up to the local authority whether they adopt it or not.

"Anyone with views on the merits of offering financial incentives for waste collection should contribute those views to the current consultation."