Waste centre charges loom for residents crossing county border

Hampshire County Council
Hampshire County Council’s HQ in Winchester

CHARGES could be introduced for Dorset residents using the Somerley waste centre over the county border in Hampshire.


The move comes after a recent survey undertaken by Hampshire County Council revealed that nearly 56% of total visits to the site near Ringwood are made by people from Dorset, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The A&T reported in 2018 about the threat of extra charges when HCC decided to make non-residents pay for using its waste facilities from 2020.

More than 1,500 responses were received to the survey which also showed that 46% of respondents visit Somerley at least once per month.

It revealed 86% are depositing bulky items that cannot fit into a bin if a £5 per visit charge is introduced, and 59% said they will add more waste to their kerbside bins.

If charges to Dorset residents are introduced, 39% of respondents said they would prefer the annual permit for six visits per year at £15-£20, while 31% of respondents favoured the option to pay £5 per visit.

A report to Dorset councillors on Wednesday says that the possible impact of any charge will disproportionately affect lower income households and is likely to increase the amount of waste not being recycled as well as lead to a possible increase in fly-tipping.

Until now Dorset has paid Hampshire £60,600 a year for its residents to use the Somerley site. But it will stop making the payments in April if Hampshire goes ahead with its proposal to introduce charges.

The report also suggested the knock-on implications for cross-border waste charging could lead to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council eventually reviewing its arrangements for Dorset residents using the Millhams and Nuffield household recycling centres.

A payment is made to BCP Council based on historic usage of the Nuffield site by Dorset residents and currently stands at £70,000 per annum.

Access to Millhams is currently free to Dorset residents based on a reciprocal arrangement whereby former Bournemouth Borough Council residents access the Christchurch HRC without charge.