NON-recyclable takeaway boxes are to be banned from Oxford food vans.

Under new rules approved last night, packaging and utensils used by street traders, including burger and kebab vans, must be either recyclable or biodegradable.

Businesses will be allowed to use up existing stock that does not comply, but will have to make the change when they apply for their next annual licence from Oxford City Council.

The local authority hopes the measure, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, will reduce the amount of rubbish it sends to landfill.

It was backed by the authority’s general purposes licensing committee in January, and the Foodservice Packaging Association also dropped its opposition after securing a change of wording to “recyclable or biodegradable” instead of “and”.

At last night’s meeting, the council also agreed its Culture Strategy for up to 2019.

The strategy dictates how the authority spends money on arts provision and partnerships with community organisations.

The council apologised after it made an error that meant £300,000 appeared to have been removed from the culture budget this year.

It follows three weeks of the Oxford Mail trying to get details from the council over the error so it could publish the correct budget for the strategy.

Nigel Kennedy, head of finance, said: “The £300,000 to which your reporter refers, relates to a corporate policy contingency budget which was not needed or used. Unfortunately, an administrative error resulted in it being aligned incorrectly to the culture budget.”

And councillors agreed to grant The Rifles the Freedom of Oxford. The British Army regiment is set to exercise the right for the first time when it parades through Oxford on Sunday, May 24.