THE LEADER of Wokingham says he is willing to stop charging residents for DIY waste if he is able to persuade neighbouring authorities to agree.

Councillor Keith Baker opened a discussion with the Borough's Re3 representatives this week after mounting pressure from rival councillors.

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned to stop charging for this type of waste since January, but the council leader says he is urging central government for clearer guidelines.

Cllr Baker said: "I personally believe the charges should be suspended until clarity has been provided, but it will be down to the Re3 board to make that decision.

"I have asked my representatives to open discussions on the potential of suspending charges, pending clarification from central government.

"We have been urging them to provide absolute clarity, including clear definitions as to what category DIY waste is in, for months now.

"The outcome of those discussions, involving all three local authorities, will decide what the collective view of the board is.

"Whatever the government eventually decides when the proposed policy becomes implemented, I am sure Re3 will adopt it."

Andrea Leadsom, the secretary of state for environment, made it clear councils should stop charging for DIY household waste at civic amenity sites.

West Sussex County Council announced it would be suspending the charges with immediate effect last week, until the Government review had been concluded.

Councillor Clive Jones is now calling for the council to follow their example and to put in a refund procedure for people who have used Re3 since the charges were introduced in July last year.

He added: "I hope Cllr Baker's comments concerning DIY waste disposal charges are genuine.

"I really hope he is going to make Re3 suspend them and put in place arrangements to refund residents who have had to pay the unlawful charges.

"I hope this is not a smokescreen, which will result in him hiding behind Reading Borough and Bracknell Forest councils, who may want to continue the charges."

Re3 representatives from Reading and Bracknell said they backed the current approach taken by the waste company to wait for further guidance before changing the price structure.