Forest fly-tipping fears over new waste charge plans

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fly-tipping forest
A huge pile of bags filled with garden waste, and plastic containers was dumped  last week at Crockford car park.

A HAMPSHIRE councillor has raised concerns over proposals to charge residents to dump non-household waste at rubbish tips.

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Cllr Alan Dowden fears that asking residents to pay for disposal of non-household wood waste such as fence panels and sheds will increase fly-tipping, writes Maria Zacarro of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The Lib Dem councillor said fly-tipping is already an issue across the county and has urged county bosses not to introduce the new charge.

As reported, the proposed fee is part of the measures Hampshire County Council could take to save £80m by 2021.

The proposals are at an early stage and will be discussed by cabinet members this month.

Cllr Dowden said that an increase in fly-tipping will also put more pressure on district and borough councils.

He said: “I have got concerns that there will be more fly-tipping. People will just take the waste out and dispose it in totally inappropriate places, and the district councils will have the responsibility of clearing it up. I don’t believe they [residents] should be paying. They already pay a council tax and why should they pay to dispose it in a tip which is local authority owned?”

He said the government should step in and support local authorities to ensure they have enough money to run services.

“The government should give more money to local authorities. There needs to be a total change in how the services are provided,” Cllr Dowden added.

Hampshire County Council said the proposals are “a direction of travel” and public consultations will be held when further details will be available.

Earlier this year county council leader Keith Mans called for “a significant injection of funding” from the Government.

It came as a report published by the County Councils Network (CCN) revealed that only “bare minimum” services will be possible in the future unless local authorities are provided with extra funding.

In May the government said local authorities will have access to £46.4 billion this year. The cash boost was described as “a real-terms increase that will strengthen services, support local communities and help councils meet the needs of their residents”.

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “Continuing pressures due to reductions in government funding, rising costs and inflation and demand for services, particularly in social care, mean we have to look carefully at how we provide services.  We know that residents value Hampshire’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), and so we are looking at how we can maintain this network within our financial means.

“With the disposal of wood currently costing Hampshire council taxpayers around £2.7m each year, we are proposing to bring in a reasonable charge as a contribution to the growing costs of disposing of large wood items such as door frames, saving £1m from the HWRC budget, and ensuring people still have a convenient place to take their wood waste.

“I totally refute the idea that charging for non-household waste at Hampshire’s HWRCs leads to more fly-tipping. The scale and nature of the majority of fly-tipping incidents suggests that this is the result of organised criminal activity.

“Over the past two years, we’ve been working closely with our partners in the district councils, Environment Agency and police on a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping and, collectively, stepping up our efforts.  This is paying off – the latest annual government statistics show declining amounts of fly-tipped waste on public land in Hampshire, and the number of successful prosecutions remains strong.”

The proposals will be considered by the county council’s cabinet in October before a final decision in November by the full county council. Further to ratification by cabinet and full council, some proposals may then be subject to further, more detailed consultation.

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