Charges to dispose of DIY waste at Norfolk's recycling centres are to remain in place
PUBLISHED: 12:45 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 24 July 2018
Motions which would have suspended or stopped the charges were defeated at a county council meeting today.
And one councillor blamed media headlines, rather than the imposition of certain charges to get rid of waste, for a fall in people attending recycling centres.
In April, Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council removed a concession which had allowed people to leave up to 80 litres of DIY waste at its recycling centres for no charge.
That means people now have to pay £3 for getting rid of a bag of rubble and item of timber, and £9 for plasterboard.
The council said the move would save it £280,000 a year.
But critics have said that has led to an increase in fly-tipping.
Figures from six district councils in Norfolk revealed fly-tipping increased by 24pc from 930 incidents in April 2017 to 1,158 in April 2018.
And there were 35,866 fewer visitors to Norfolk’s recycling centres in April 2018, compared to April 2017 – a drop of 30pc.
The amount of waste dumped over the same period also fell by 30pc – almost 2,000 tonnes.
Labour put forward a motion to today’s meeting of the county council, calling for the charges to be suspended, while the council investigates the issue.
Labour’s Terry Jermy said: “Can anyone claim that increasing charges for DIY waste will not lead to an increase in flytipping? I very much doubt it.”
He said farmers had told him they had seen an increase in flytipping and that the county’s move was shunting costs to farmers, landowners and district councils, who have to deal with fly-tipping.
Council leader Andrew Proctor had previously said the council would look at the issue and base any decision on evidence.
But Martin Wilby, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport committee, said there would be no “knee jerk reaction” based on partial evidence.
He said: “When we have evidence, if we need to make changes, we will look at them then.”
He also said latest figures showed visits to recycling centres were comparable to this time last year.
But fellow Conservative Brian Long, leader of West Norfolk Council, blamed media headlines for people not understanding what they could still dispose of for free at recycling centres.
However, Conservative Tom FitzPatrick said he did not blame the EDP, but that it needed to be made clearer what people would and would not be charged for.
Conservative Andy Grant, who has worked in recycling centres, said many charges are now lower than they once were.
He said he wouldn’t expect others to subsidise the disposal of his DIY waste.
The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to Labour’s motion, calling for the charges to be scrapped straight away, with leader Dan Roper dubbing it as a “Tory tip tax”.
The amendment was defeated by 43 votes to 27 and then Labour’s original motion was defeated by 43 votes to 26.
Charges to dispose of DIY waste were introduced at Norfolk County Council’s 20 recycling centre in April.
People can still dispose of household waste for free.
But these are the charges for DIY-type waste (cost is per item/per 80 litre bag or equivalent:
Plasterboard and plaster - £9 (£15 at Mile Cross)
Rubble £3 including: floor and wall tiles; sinks, toilets and ceramic shower trays; bricks, concrete and concrete posts; paving slabs and stones
Timber £3 including: fitted kitchen units; fitted and built in furniture; doors, door frames and skirting; fence panels; wooden garden structures; decking, fencing, trellises, pergolas and arches
Non-recyclable £5 including: insulation and roof felt; plastic guttering, drains and facia’ baths and shower trays; soil and turf; pond liners and garden membranes; doors, windows and frames
Flat glass £5 - including windows and glass doors
Metals - no charge