PLANS to charge people a "rubbish tax" for producing too much waste can be avoided in York, says the council's environment chief.

The Government has suggested households could be fined if their bins are regularly overflowing with heavy rubbish.

But Coun Andrew Waller, executive member for environment and sustainability, said the fortnightly bin collections were reducing waste in York, and could prevent the need for charges.

"There has been an enormous drop in the amount of rubbish produced since the alternate week collections," he said.

"We feel it is an appropriate way in the short term of dealing with our waste. Other councils are looking at bringing in bar coded bins, which are automatically weighed when they are emptied.

"But I hope the system we have in York means we won't have to resort to charging."

Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw has suggested a "pay-as-you-throw" scheme which would penalise people for putting out more than a certain weight of rubbish.

The idea, being put out to consultation under the Government's waste strategy review, aims to encourage recycling and reduce waste going to landfill sites.

York council says it has already saved £500,000 in landfill tax and Government fines since the alternate collections - where garden waste is taken one week and household waste the next - began in October.

Updated: 10:32 Tuesday, February 14, 2006