Plans to make cost savings at household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) have moved forward this week in both Hampshire and parts of Berkshire, in regards to charges for using the facilities.
Hampshire county council is looking to charge the public £1 per visit for its household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) which would make it the first local authority to do so.
The council has confirmed it is lobbying Government to allow it to pilot the pay-as-you-go scheme, which the local authority said could raise up to £4m.
In recent years Hampshire has introduced a number of changes to its HWRCs, including the introduction of charges for non-household (DIY) waste, and reducing opening times. (see letsrecycle.com story)
In terms of charges at HWRCs, legislation passed by government in March 2015 – the Local Authorities (Prohibition of Charging Residents to Deposit Household Waste) Order – prohibits councils from charging residents for the use of HWRCs either at the point of entry, exit or disposal.
In the past the government has also suggested that offering residents free access for HWRCs “reduces the risk of fly‑tipping and backyard burning.” (see letsrecycle.com story)
However, a recent survey by resources charity WRAP claimed that there is limited evidence to link charging at civic amenity sites with an increase in fly tipping. (see letsrecycle.com story)
Hampshire reports that it currently provides more HWRCs than comparable authorities with almost 85% of the population currently within five miles of an HWRC. 26 HWRCs are listed on the council’s website.
The local authority has said that previous consultation with residents suggested that they would be prepared to pay a nominal charge if this helped to maintain the number of centres across the county.
“The county council needs to save £140 million by 2019, on top of the £340 million already taken out of the county council’s budget since 2010.”Rob Humby
Hampshire county council
At a council meeting on Thursday (2 November) councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire county council, said: “The county council needs to save £140 million by 2019, on top of the £340 million already taken out of the county council’s budget since 2010. Therefore, we are having to review all our revenue expenditure and reduce costs.
“While Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are the most efficient and highest performing part of the recycling system in Hampshire, on-going national austerity, rising inflation, and significant increases in the numbers of elderly people, younger adults and children needing care, mean that as part of our look again at savings across the board, we also need to review HWRCs.”
Meanwhile, over the border in Berkshire, re3 is introducing an amended pricing strategy for chargeable non-household waste at its HWRCs.
re3 is the partnership between Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham borough councils and waste company FCC Environment. The partnership runs two HWRCs at Reading and Bracknell.
According to FCC, a shortened pricing list was agreed by re3’s Joint Waste Disposal Board on October 13. The company said there is no change to the prices, but now chargeable waste will be assessed by volume or the number of individual items only, rather than by vehicle type.
FCC explained the change will help to address any concerns about inconsistencies in pricing due to vehicle size and may help to deter those tempted to “dangerously overload smaller vehicles in an attempt to be charged less.”
From now on, chargeable non-household waste will be charged by volume, calculated at £2.10 per 25L bag or equivalent for plasterboard, at £2.50 per 25L bag or equivalent for soil and £2.20 per 25L bag or equivalent for rubble (including bricks, tiles, slates etc.) Individual items such as ceramic sinks and toilets will also be charged at £2.20.
By introducing charges for some non-household waste items, re3 can cover the cost of managing those types of waste without having to subsidise it from ‘already stretched’ budgets, FCC said. Bracknell Forest’s executive member for environment, Cllr Dorothy Hayes MBE said: “Though the legal capacity to introduce such charges has existed for several years, the decision was finally taken by re3 to help ensure that our waste management service is fairer, more cost-effective and efficient.
“Since their introduction, the new arrangements at re3 recycling centres have worked well. The re3 Councils would like to thank residents for their support and understanding of why these charges, and the other changes brought in during 2016, were needed.”
Earlier this year the government said it was going to review guidance around charges for the disposal of waste at HWRCs, in order to ‘make clear’ the law around charging the public for the service. (see letsrecycle.com story)
In April’s litter strategy, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said: “Government’s view is clear: DIY waste is classed as household waste if it results from work a householder would normally carry out. A number of local authorities have introduced additional charges for the deposit of waste which local authorities categorise as ‘waste other than household waste’.
The government has pledged to work with WRAP to review current guidance to ‘ensure this reflects changes in the law and to make clear what can and cannot be charged for at HWRCs – including in respect of DIY waste’. Revised guidance will be published by the end of the 2017.