Charging to use tips may lead to more fly-tipping

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Portsmouth City Council may have launched a crackdown to tackle fly-tipping after figures revealed there were 646 incidents in the city in 2012/13.

But the reality is that people will still be tempted. It was only last Friday that we reported how a suspected fly-tipper was caught red-handed dumping rubble in a layby in Paulsgrove.

Clearly he hadn’t been put off by the prospect of getting caught. So we have to be concerned at the implications of changes being made to the way household waste and recycling centres in the county operate.

Yesterday Sean Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, environment and transport, signed off measures that include charging people to take bags of rubble, bricks and asbestos sheets to the tip.

His argument seems to be that asking people to pay a few pounds every time they get rid of such waste at council facilities will cover the costs of dealing with it.

But the danger is that charging risks putting people off using official tips, instead leading them to dump illegally in the countryside or residential areas.

The charity Campaign to Protect Rural England certainly thinks so, as does Hampshire’s Lib Dem opposition leader Keith House.

The problem is that by introducing charges to take certain waste to council tips, it creates a barrier when what we need to be doing is making it easier for people to do the right thing.

If hundreds of people locally are already flouting the law every year for the sake of convenience, surely expecting them to pay to go the tip makes it even less likely that they will take that option. Not only will it require effort, but also expense.

Yes, we understand the county council has to cut costs and that difficult decisions have to be made. Making across-the-board savings of £100m by March next year is a tough ask and the tips are not immune.

But we fear the result will be more fly-tipping – along with clean-up bills for local councils which can ill afford it.