FEARS have been raised that abolishing free heavy waste collections will cause even more problems with fly-tipping in Portsmouth.
The city council disposes of heavy items such as mattresses and sofas for residents and the first 50 most vulnerable who apply each week for a pick-up are not charged.
But the Tory administration has proposed under its budget next year to stop free collections and make everyone pay the going £30 rate to improve the overall quality of the service and offer more residents the chance to have their rubbish taken away.
But the rival Lib Dem group believes the plan is ‘foolish’ and will only make people want to dump unwanted belongings in the street since they will have to pay.
The Lib Dems believe thousands of extra sofas, mattresses and fridges each year will end up being left about.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said: ‘We already have a real problem with fly-tipping in Portsmouth. This will only be made worse by this foolish cut. This is on top of the cancellation of the contract to fine people for not clearing up after their dogs and dropping litter as well as proposals to leave the Keep Britain Tidy Group. This is bad for residents, bad for businesses and bad for the tourists who are so important for the economy of the city.’
But Cllr Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, believes the move will open up more collection spaces and discourage fly-tipping.
It comes after the council revealed it is considering installing CCTV cameras in hot spot fly-tipping areas. Latest figures have revealed there were 646 fly-tipping incidents in the city in 2012/13.
‘The whole reason we put this in our budget consultation was because we have a fly-tipping problem which isn’t great,’ said Cllr Jones.
‘People have responded in favour of this and we believe that by introducing a small charge, we will be able to increase the number of waste collection slots by four times the amount, and will reduce the number of fly-tipping incidents substantially.’
The full council will meet tomorrow to decide whether the council budget put forward for next year, which seeks to save £13.1m, should be adopted.
Unions are to make deputations against cuts being made.
Chris Pickett, Unison council branch secretary, said: ‘£13m will be stripped from our public services by an unofficial coalition of the four parties, bound together by their support for austerity.’