PLANS to charge non-residents to use Hampshire tips have been given the green light.
The decision, which was rubber-stamped on Monday, will mean people wanting to use the county’s 24 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) who do not live in Hampshire will need to pay £5 each time they visit.
But residents within the catchment areas of Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council will be exempt from the charges because of a partnership between the authorities.
This comes after civic chiefs at the county council admitted they were looking to balance the books as the ‘cost of managing household waste continues to rise.’ They estimate that it costs £500,000 each year to process waste brought in by non-residents.
The authority has also previously floated a plan to bring in a £1 charge for county residents to use its tips, but this would need permission from the government and so far nothing has been decided.
The new proposals include the installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) barrier systems at the sites, only allowing free access for vehicles registered to Hampshire addresses.
When a vehicle comes into a tip that isn’t on the list, it will be flagged to site staff.
But local taxpayers expressed concern at these plans, suggesting that leased cars – which are registered to companies outside of the county – will not be recognised and they will have to pay, despite living in Hampshire.
Nevertheless, the authority has now clarified its plans.
A spokesman said: ‘Residents will be able to register up to three vehicle registrations and there won’t be any issue with leased vehicles that may not be registered to that particular address.
‘The check is done on the resident’s address only and not on the vehicle itself.’
Commercial vehicles, from both within and outside of the county, will still need to pay an additional fee.
As well as this new out-of-county charge, the authority is also proposing a £15 administration fee for van and trailer permits. This bill, civic chiefs says, will cover the costs of providing the permit to allow 12 visits within a 12 month period. This will be available to Hampshire residents only.
The new charges will come in from April 1 2019.
Neighbouring county Wiltshire does not allow non-residents to use its sites, with locals needing to bring a physical proof of residence when they visit a facility.
But Hampshire said it disagrees with this approach, as ‘sometimes facilities located in another authority’s area can be more convenient to access than those within their own.’ This, it added, will increase recycling, but without a cost to the “local taxpayer”, hence the charge.
Civic chiefs also said that the option of bringing a physical document was proposed, but a digital system was preferred.
This comes just over a year after other charges – to dispose of non household waste – were introduced at the centres, some of which had opening hours reduced to prevent closures. The authority also suggested it could save £100,000 per site closure.