UK local council attempts to restrict access to their civic amenity sites to permit-holding local residents will end up costing them more than they are likely to save, warned UK-based BusinessWaste.co.uk
The national waste management company says that policies signed to keep non-permit holders away from their sites are likely to succeed spectacularly, to the point that there will be a plague of ‘fly-tipping’ (littering) in local countryside and industrial estates.
The company says it’s keeping a sharp eye on new schemes in Huddersfield and Reading to see how they pan out – but warns that spending on clearing up fly-tipped rubbish could far outweigh any projected savings.
“People are creatures of habit and know where to find their nearest and most convenient rubbish tip,” BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall says, “And in the past, it didn’t really matter if you crossed a council boundary.
“But now, it’s local tips for local people, and woe betide if you turn up without a permit.”
In West Yorkshire’s Kirklees council area, the local authority is fed up with trade users abusing the system by turning up and claiming to be domestic users. They also want to stop non-residents using their sites. That means everybody who wants to use the tip has to register their vehicle number plate online before they set out. If someone turns up unregistered, they will be turned away.
“This looks fine in principle, right up to the first argument on the gate on a busy afternoon. Queues are crazy long as it is, and this will only make things worse,” Ms Hall said.
“And those turned away probably won’t be keen on returning home with a car full of rubbish. Those with a looser set of morals will through it into a hedge on a country lane,” she added.
Reading’s local council is to send a small fortune sending out a residents-only tip permit to every household in the borough.
‘Meeters and greeters’ will check every vehicle as they arrive, with the risk of delays and arguments over forgotten or lost permits. Interestingly, much of the west part of the town is in West Berkshire, where people are no longer allowed to use the main Reading tip due to budget cuts. They now face a 30-mile round trip to get rid of their waste.
“You just know how this is going to end up,” Ms Hall said.
“Nobody wants to drive 30 miles with a car full of rubbish, but that rubbish has got to go somewhere.”
“We believe there’s going to be a black market in waste permits, and all the local council authorities are going to be paying out a small fortune to clear up fly-tipping.”
Fly-tipping costs local authorities in England around £50million every year, a figure which is only going to rise if the public and trades people find it more difficult to get rid of their waste.
Every incidence of fly-tipping costs several hundred pounds in staff and equipment, and this can run into thousands if hazardous waste is found. Fly-tippers don’t consider environmental or health impacts of their actions, meaning both countryside and human health could be put at risk.
“With Britain trying to increase recycling rates and stamp down on illegal tipping, these well-meaning permit schemes could actually be a one-way street to disaster,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk’s Mark Hall.
“We don’t want to be turning people away,” he says, “but levels of bureaucracy will do just that.”