At January’s Full Council meeting I asked the following question:
“Does the Executive Member with responsibility for street cleansing agree that one of the unintended consequences of both the removal of the bulky household waste collection service and the changes in respect of commercial waste could be increased levels of fly tipping throughout the city?”
Plans by the Council in this year’s budget to charge for bulky waste collections, in addition to tightening the rules on disposal of commercial waste could simply increase incidences of fly tipping as people try to avoid the new fees.
The Council, in its Strategic Financial Plan for 2013/14 has estimated a saving of £100,000 can be made by reducing the amount of bulky waste that is sent to landfill, and implementing a charging policy for its removal. It hopes to save a further £100,000 by stopping the disposal of commercial waste at household waste sites.
Where councils have introduced charges for bulky waste collections, these are typically between £15 and £20 for the first few items. Whilst this is not an excessive amount, it is still likely to encourage the dumping of household goods, and I worry that the anticipated savings will be eroded by the cost of clearing the subsequent fly tipping.
The problem is likely to be further exacerbated by plans to turn away any suspected commercial waste from household waste sites. Whilst I agree with this in principle, it needs to be implemented alongside much more rigorous enforcement and prosecution, with severe financial penalties imposed on those who break the law.
I realise the pressure the administration is under to make savings, but we must take care not to claw back revenue in one area, by increasing costs in another. Fly tipping is not just a financial drain on the Council, it is also a massive blight on the environment and a health risk.