Council brings in fees at dump to make money

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Fears have been raised that introducing fees to dump rubble and asbestos at tips will lead to a rise in fly-tipping.

The charges are part of a cost-cutting exercise by Hampshire County Council and are set to be signed off by the executive member for environment and economy councillor Sean Woodward on Tuesday.

He will approve bringing in charges for DIY waste such as soil, rubble, plasterboard and cement bonded asbestos, as well as shortened opening hours in a bid to save £1m.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘If people had to pay a few pounds it would cover the costs that the council incurs dealing with this type of waste. I have got to save £1m and I am not going to close any sites.

‘The other issue is opening hours. We will be looking closely to see if there are any sites that we can close earlier or for one day a week.’

Leader of the Lib Dem opposition Keith House said he feared fly-tipping will increase.

He said: ‘The council risks creating more fly-tipping. This is a backdoor way of passing costs to borough councils that have to keep streets clean, and running down our environment.

‘Any changes will need to be monitored very closely.’

The fee for DIY waste is expected to make the council between £350,000 and £650,000 per year.

A survey about these changes was carried out by the council and drew 6,478 responses, as well as 45 letters.

A third of respondents said they did not want to see a charge brought in for DIY waste, 17 per cent said they did and 15 per cent were neutral. With the majority of objections being concerns of increased fly-tipping.

Nearly a third of people disagreed with changing the opening times, 43 per cent agreed and 22 per cent remained neutral.

Other authorities have already brought in these fees. Devon County Council reported increased fly-tipping within the first year, which the council says has since returned to pre-introduction levels. The cost of dealing with this fly-tipping was £20,000, compared to £1.8m saved through all changes in the county.

Cllr Woodward said there are some positives as there will be no closures and businesses will be able to use the service for a fee, as well as working with charities to resell items that come in.