Norfolk County Council hits back at ministers over criticism of recycling centre charges

Plans to charge at some recycling centres in Norfolk has been condemned by government ministers. Plans to charge at some recycling centres in Norfolk has been condemned by government ministers.

Friday, March 7, 2014
9:03 AM

Leaders at Norfolk County Council have sent an angry riposte to government ministers who criticised them for planning to charge people to use some of the county’s recycling centres.

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As part of a package to save £189m over the next three years, the county council is looking to introduce £2 charges at recycling centres in Ashill, Bergh Apton, Docking, Heacham, Snetterton, Strumpshaw, Wells, Worstead and Wymondham from April 2016.

That led to government ministers, including Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, sending a strongly worded letter to Labour leader George Nobbs.

They suggested under the law, waste should be accepted free of charge and said it would lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

But the council, which has stressed 11 of Norfolk’s main recycling centres would still be free, has now hit back at the letter from ministers.

In a letter to local government minister and environment minister Dan Rogerson, Mr Nobbs attacks Mr Lewis for sending his letter of concern to a national newspaper before sending it to the county council.

And he says: “I am perplexed that it has taken Mr Lewis so long to express a view to me about this issue, which will not take effect until 2016.

“The letter comes more than five months after we first started consulting with all of Norfolk’s MPs and the entire community, about our proposals for plugging our £189m funding gap.

“Other Norfolk MPs responded to this consultation, which we called Putting People First, but Mr Lewis sent a holding letter which had no comment to make on our proposals. Further two weeks have passed since we settled our budget for this financial year.

“Perhaps the fact that you sent your letter to a national newspaper before me, says all I need to know about how seriously you really think this matter is - and what your real motive is for sending it.”

The letter continues that the proposal is similar to a scene in Somerset, where a £2 entry fee has been charged at four of 18 household waste sites for several years.

And he said: “On the one hand, your government withdraws millions of pounds of funding from local authorities like ours and challenges us to look at opportunities for charging for services and generating new revenue streams to plug that gap.

“On the other hand, you intervene in a negative way at the first sign that those ideas are being put into practice.”

Following our story on the issue on Monday, 464 people took part in an online survey asking what people thought of the plans.

Of those, 91pc of those who took part said they wouldn’t pay £2 to use their recycling centre and that the plan should be scrapped, but 9pc said they would.

In a report detailing the consultation responses, 268 out of 394 of those who responded did not support the proposal, with most of the responses that were against it citing concerns about fly-tipping.

Would a charge increase fly-tipping? Or is it a sensible way to cut the county council’s deficit? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich.

15 comments

  • Ministers are right to be concerned about NCC's double charging, not to speak opf their arbitrary choice of recycling centres that charge. As it happens these are also in the richest parts of Norfolk. Flytipping will onviously increase, as will the rubb ish I regularly clear off the verges near my home. Thanks NCC.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Brandon Lewis,imprudently, fails to say what services he would cut instead in order to balance the budget.Childrens' centres? Social care for the elderly and vulnerable?If he really cared about local government,he would support it,rather than just blaming those he has victimised by successive financial settlements favouring his Tory cabinet colleagues' constituencies and not his own in Great Yarmouth.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Re. the proposed charges for using the Worstead Recycling & other sites. We feel that fly tipping would increase in this area and the Council would only have themselves to blame! We regularly walk our dog along bridleways and footpaths close to our home and there is often flytipping there. It costs the land owners to clear it up and this is so unfair.Is this another way that the council wants to share the cost of doing a job that we pay for in our council tax?? We use the Worstead tip fairly regularly and find it excellent-the staff are always helpful but we expect that they are getting some abuse over this suggestion from their bosses! This charge should not go ahead it will cause problems for our countryside.

    Report this comment

    Trimble

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • ....."Charging in Norfolk is a guarantee that everyone will fly tip".....rubbish, and a suitable fine like confiscation of any vehicle used in the said crime would be a good deterent. Illegal tipping of waste I would put on a par with stealing, fraud and dangerous driving, and 1 years imprisonment would be about right. I wouldn't hesitate to inform on anyone I knew who fly tipped, but obviously you would keep some kind of self- rightious silence Alecto. Perhaps you will be lucky and someone will flytip on your doorstep....what an honour...with or without the £2 charge being introduced.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • When we lived in Wandsworth we paid the fee quite happily. But then it is virtually impossible to fly tip in such a built up area. Charging in Norfolk is a guarantee that everyone will fly tip. Daft.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Re. the proposed charges for using the Worstead Recycling & other sites. We feel that fly tipping would increase in this area and the Council would only have themselves to blame! We regularly walk our dog along bridleways and footpaths close to our home and there is often flytipping there. It costs the land owners to clear it up and this is so unfair.Is this another way that the council wants to share the cost of doing a job that we pay for in our council tax?? We use the Worstead tip fairly regularly and find it excellent-the staff are always helpful but we expect that they are getting some abuse over this suggestion from their bosses! This charge should not go ahead it will cause problems for our countryside.

    Report this comment

    Trimble

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Less countywide recycling. Now that`s progress! As nrg states, these smaller charging centres will inevitably close. More waste will then have to be sent to King`s Lynn for incineration, with the government getting the blame by their cutting of financial support to Norfolk. Maybe that`s the plan. As an elder statesman on here has stated many times, "politics is a dirty business". Too late though.

    Report this comment

    democrat

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • People will avoid the £2 charge by hiding the rubbish in their domestic waste wheelie bins which will then go to landfill rather than being sorted at present if taken to a recycling centre. So it will be a counter productive measure. However, having seen what some people offload in one go at the recycling centres, £2 will be very good value. For those just wishing to take a kettle, it seems over the top.

    Report this comment

    JanieH

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Less countywide recycling. Now that`s progress! More waste will then be sent to King`s Lynn for incineration, maybe that`s the plan. Too late though.

    Report this comment

    democrat

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Fly tipping happens even though the system for disposing of domestic rubbish is free. In essence, I can't see the point of fly tipping other than sheer laziness.

    Report this comment

    JanieH

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • ....."Charging in Norfolk is a guarantee that everyone will fly tip".....rubbish, and a suitable fine like confiscation of any vehicle used in the said crime would be a good deterent. Illegal tipping of waste I would put on a par with stealing, fraud and dangerous driving, and 1 years imprisonment would be about right. I wouldn't hesitate to inform on anyone I knew who fly tipped, but obviously you would keep some kind of self- rightious silence Alecto. Perhaps you will be lucky and someone will flytip on your doorstep....what an honour...with or without the £2 charge being introduced.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • all these pay as you throw dumps are earmarked for future closure. May Gurney lost the contracts and the new bods can't afford to run them without charging the local taxpayer to dump.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • ....."Charging in Norfolk is a guarantee that everyone will fly tip".....rubbish, and a suitable fine like confiscation of any vehicle used in the said crime would be a good deterent. Illegal tipping of waste I would put on a par with stealing, fraud and dangerous driving, and 1 years imprisonment would be about right. I wouldn't hesitate to inform on anyone I knew who fly tipped, but obviously you would keep some kind of self- rightious silence Alecto. Perhaps you will be lucky and someone will flytip on your doorstep....what an honour...with or without the £2 charge being introduced.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Re. the proposed charges for using the Worstead Recycling & other sites. We feel that fly tipping would increase in this area and the Council would only have themselves to blame! We regularly walk our dog along bridleways and footpaths close to our home and there is often flytipping there. It costs the land owners to clear it up and this is so unfair.Is this another way that the council wants to share the cost of doing a job that we pay for in our council tax?? We use the Worstead tip fairly regularly and find it excellent-the staff are always helpful but we expect that they are getting some abuse over this suggestion from their bosses! This charge should not go ahead it will cause problems for our countryside.

    Report this comment

    Trimble

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Just wait for the furore later this year when councils start to see reduced income from recycling facilities. Reepham Town Council, and other bodies will lose revenue which keeps their Council Tax down ( some £4,000 in Reepham's case)while County will rake the money in at Longwater This is not widely known yet.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Friday, March 7, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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