Plans to charge to use Norfolk recycling centres blasted as ‘back-door bin charge’ by government ministers

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.

Monday, March 3, 2014
7:17 AM

Proposals which would see Norfolk families charged for using some of the county’s recycling centres have been slammed by government ministers as a “back-door bin charge”.

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And they have questioned the legality of the move to make the £2 charge, which is intended to help plug Norfolk's budget deficit.

Tory ministers have sent a strongly-worded letter warning Labour council leader George Nobbs that the move would increase the risk of fly-tipping.

The intervention, in a letter co-signed by local government minister Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, and waste minister Dan Rogerson, also suggests that under the law waste should be accepted free of charge.

Recycling centres in Ashill, Bergh Apton, Docking, Heacham, Snetterton, Strumpshaw, Wells, Worstead and Wymondham could introduce a £2 charge under the council's plans to cut costs and make £189m of savings.

But Norfolk County Council said 11 of Norfolk's main recycling centres would still be free

"Charging a small fee at nine of our smaller sites from 2016 is one way of keeping all 20 open in the face of very significant cuts in Government funding that our county is having to deal with," the council said.

County Hall says it needs to bridge a spending gap of £66.5m in 2014/15 and £189m over the next three years.

There has already been opposition in some quarters of County Hall with the charge to visit the smaller recycling centres apparently only saving around £280,000.

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

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs letter from the ministers said: "It is our belief that this backdoor bin charge will both inconvenience local council tax-paying residents and create perverse incentives.

"Charging for using recycling centres will increase the risk of fly-tipping, harming the local environment and diverting taxpayers' money to clean up the mess."

It said it should be easy for people to recycle and the would mean that people "simply put such items in their residual waste bins, so they end up in landfill".

It cites the Environmental Protection Act (Section 51), which says: "Local authorities have a duty to provide sites for the deposit of household waste. Where such sites are provided in fulfilment of this duty, waste must be accepted free of charge".

The letter said: "We are interested to hear how Norfolk County Council squares its charging proposals with the requirements of the Act."

"I firmly believe that Norfolk County Council's proposal to charge for HWRCs provision runs against the interests of householders and governments environmental concerns and suggest it seriously revisits its thinking," the minister said.

Would a charge increase fly-tipping? Or is it a sensible way to cut the county council's deficit? Write to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich or email edpletters@archant.co.uk giving your full name, address and contact details.

46 comments

  • Is it my imagination or are we getting more and more interventions from the government in the decisions that NCC make. I am now getting confused as to the role of our MPs with respect to local government. Does Essex Boy Brandon Lewis really care about this issue, and if he does, surely his approach should bring it to debate within government committees, so all MP's can have a view, not just his. Isn't that what government is for?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • what happens if the site has no change will they send us off after some before we can unload just another way of robbing us. I think I will have to go and see MA to see if I can afford to dump rubbish

    Report this comment

    i am mostly wrong??

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Ncc be accused of being responsible for fly tipping, because it wants to charge us twice for the same job? will never happen.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • When we lived in Wandsworth in London we paid for all this stuff individually. But there was another side. We paid no local taxes at all, none whatsoever. So why do we have to keep paying and paying here in Norfolk? Huge basic tax and then they filch more over the top. Where on earth is the money going?

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I think it will be seen that the District Councils in their submissions said that putting this charge in place will cause extra fly tipping and it is they such as South Norfolk or North Norfolk who have to pay to pick it up from the verges. The County Council will then have to pay to dispose of it any way. What is cheaper free access to disposal at a HRWC or pay twice as much but at the cost of the district budget. Sorry but the waste team at County Hall have got this horribly wrong

    Report this comment

    Econic

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The council wil be hoping the fly tipping is on private land so they will not have to pick up the bill In the past farmers have been left paying for the clear up of illegally dumped asbestos and tyres because the council will not. One law for hemsby chalet owners and another for the rest of us. if we were not wasting money trying to collect and recycle what ends up in dumps in Nigeria and jakarta and wasting money collecting food waste and green waste making useless and possibly dangerous compost but instead investing in waste to power stations with other councils maybe the charges for what can be usefully recycled would not be needed. I foresee a return to the back garden bonfire. I pay a cracking council tax for not much-even have to pay if I want a brown bin to recycle garden waste-I think I pay enough already

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Typical of NCC, they are incapable of looking at the wider view, they have a problem with budget and try to fix it without considering that it may just move the problem elsewhere!

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • "V" : I note you do not address the rather serious allegation that you are inciting people to break the law (not to mention making NCC spend OUR money to then clear up after you!)

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • If NCC are acting as the responsible Waste Disposal Authorityt this proposed charge is a clear breach of the legislation cited in the article. It is more than a little worrying that finance and legal officers in addition to not properly understanding contractual obligations blindly entered into also seem incapable of understanding the most clearly worded piece of law or perhaps it was yet another sleight of hand justified by impending bankruptcy. As to practicalities the mere notion of this proposal should have been strangled at birth.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I can't understand central government. It reduces funding then its ministers criticize local councils for cutting services. Talk about passing the buck!

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    Barbara

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • ...."Surely you have already paid through your council tax for the facility.".....If you think about it jennifer jane, why should the non users of the recycling centre subsidise those who do. If the actual cost to the council is say £2 per car load, then the person who brings the car load of rubbish should pay all of the £2, not part of it, as is what happens at the moment.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • So here we go again.The Norflk COunty Cpouncil want to charge for tipping rubbish. Its another way of making us the tax Payer fill their loose coffers once again due to the past and present wastatge NCC have spent so much on different schemes had Grants from EEU community funds to assist, mucked these schemes or cancelled them once the money has been had, and where do we hear councillors taking large cuts in their expenses.

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I can't understand central government. It reduces funding then its ministers criticize local councils for cutting services. Talk about passing the buck!

    Report this comment

    Barbara

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Some of your posters need to calm down. This is a proposal for implementation in two years time. There will need to be discussions in the Norfolk Waste Partnership, which includes the Districts, before the idea can proceed. This is only right as it is the Districts who will have to deal with the fly-tipping that will follow this poorly thought-through suggestion.

    Report this comment

    Old Hand

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Don't we already pay? Yes. Its a standing charge, it does not buy you any services. It just pays for the staff and the offices. Services are extra. Its like your electricity connection and your actual electricity. Just because you pay a connection charge does not buy any electricity. The council staff are dedicated men and women who are working very hard to make sure all these services are available for us to buy and its very upsetting for them to hear that people think they should be doing more when they are already working flat out already.

    Report this comment

    Resident

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • this statement is incorrect := But Norfolk County Council said 11 of Norfolk’s main recycling centres would still be free i was asked to pay £48 to drop some clean timber, that i believe is crushed down to wood chip to make horse bedding and the like, all of which is charged for when sold on, and yes human nature being what it is people will fly tip, terrible, and the cost to clean up will be an even higher bill

    Report this comment

    Dave

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • It is irresponsible of government ministers to seek to stop one particular cut without accepting the fact that councils are legally required to set a balanced budget.Brandon Lewis must say what he could cut instead.The council officer's statement implies if the charge does not go ahead,one or more of the centres may well have to close.May I suggest after the minster's intervention,any recycling centres in and around his Great Yarmouth constituency be closed instead.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • We all can stop moaning we elected this mess last May.those that didn't vote are complicit by abstaining.Endure the litter on the road verges the dumped rubbish in the countryside the danger to our wild life. Then maybe we will vote and elect capable Councillors. Not knee jerk reactions.

    Report this comment

    Tractor4

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Despite what some posters here think Council Tax is ludicrously low - we need to pay for the services we receive. What people like "V" dont seem to understand is that if Central Gov continues to squeeze Local Gov and force them to keep Council Tax down then services MUST worsen! So I would suggest to "V" that he or she goes and tries to fly tip their rubbish in Downing Street (bet they have enough police officers posted there to deal with illegal activity!)

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The County Council manage recycling centres, the District Councils deal with flytipping. Why should County Hall worry if flytipping increases??

    Report this comment

    norfolkngood

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I appreciate that you pay if the council send a truck to pick up rubbish too big for the normal collection but if you use your own petrol in your own time even a small amount like £2 seems wrong. Surely you have already paid through your council tax for the facility.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Typical of the Labour Party to try and introduce more taxes, they are the party of higher tax and wasteful spending,

    Report this comment

    blister

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Time for incisive leadership has come. If we must get down to brass tacks to save money then waste disposal is a basic essential service critical to promoting a hygienic level of public health and sanitation for all. No doubt fly tipping will increase. Once precedent is set, supplemental users fees will surely creep up and up as a surreptitious council tax top up. First cut luxury nice to have services for the few like the polluting mobile library service before exercising a convenient money grab on common to all must have core services to keep our county uncontaminated for all residents. Adding insult to injury is unfair proposal that only a few locations would charge this stealth tax forcing only some to pay. Such an epic failure and politically polluted of a policy should never have seen the light of clean air.

    Report this comment

    J. Harry

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The effect could well be that the small Recycling Centres will close through lack of use, and they will be said to be uneconomical to run.Then people will have to travel farther to dispose of household waste...not the most environmentally beneficial idea.Who knows the cost of May and Gurney running the sites less the monies received from the recycled materials? Are we running at a loss? Who will run the enlarged Longwater Plant come October, and will this save us money or just boost the recycling rate?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Some of the posters do not need to calm down. They have read the article and reacted accordingly. They cannot help it if the EDP cannot report the situation properly and someone who professes to know the situation better lazily does not put on a post correcting the article. I think there is an awful lot here not to be calm about. The first being that no-one can trust Councillors anywhere anytime and people react accordingly. No good news ever comes out of a Council, only moronic claptrap.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Council tax is already far too high and all charging for rubbish disposal will encourage fly tipping! a lot of charges are due to the EU landfill tax,another of the many reasons for leaving it! Many of us get rotten street lighting and lousy roads,and the local library is full of well used tatty books,so why is council tax so high? Perhaps it's the cost of refurbishing that ghastly eyesore,county hall,or gold plating pensions!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Why do our Tory MP's criticise the Labour led Council AFTER decision are made? Brandon Lewis could have made his points during the consultation or even got his Tory Group to have put an amendment on this issue in the budget debate. Instead, like with the incinerator they are using this as a political football in a feeble attempt to try & undermine Labour.

    Report this comment

    Jonny

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I can't understand central government. It reduces funding then its ministers criticize local councils for cutting services. Talk about passing the buck!

    Report this comment

    Barbara

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • arfur. Flytipping is happening more and more, and with this it will only get worse. NCC are trying to make up the shortfall, either by Government or their own incompetence by increasing charges to the people. Funny how they dont cut their salaries, expenses, the number of jobsworths you see wandering about either inside or outside the kremlin, the special bus between Norwich City Centre and the Kremlin, or how many councilors there are. I can name one who can be got rid of, and no one will notice, because of his incompetence.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • So now this "newspaper" accepts posts inciting people to behave in an illegal manner? A question for "V" : How much would it cost us, the Council Tax payer, to clear up your flytipping? I think the NCC proposal is madness BUT I also understand that they are being battered by Central Government and it is hypocritical of the Ministers to criticise them.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • If you introduce a charge, you will get fly-tipping which the council will have to clear up. The end result will be an even bigger bill. NCC please use some common sense.

    Report this comment

    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • So the Tory government cut local council and government funding send a strong letter warning not to charge to plug the hole they created....wonder how much that stroke of genius cost the humble tax payer?

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • arfur. i do not need to incite people to break the law. They will do it automatically when the cost becomes prohibitive or when the recycling plants will not accept certain items. It is human nature. Time for NCC to look at other areas for savings, like themselves (them paying for their own pensions), instead of keep cutting back on services that we already pay for in exorbitant Council Tax.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Be assured that if Norfolk County Council were still under full Tory control, you would not have heard a word out of this from Lewis. I live in Suffolk, where in 2011 the Tory-run County Council closed and privatised about 7 wasterecycling sites. The one local to me at Southwold started charging £3 per car (private, not trade waste), and pretty rapidly shut up shop, as "visits" dropped almost to zero. There was no "blasting" from Lewis (in his Government capacity) about Suffolk's "bin charge". The whole thing is clearly and unequivocally politically motivated, probably on both sides.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Norfolk County Council are well known in business circles to be ‘unfit for purpose’. if they were a company that had to make a profit they would have ceased to exist a long time ago. This is just one more attack on ‘poor’ or less well off people. If you are earning £50,000 plus a year, two pound at the recycling centre is not a big deal. If you are bringing up a family on a low wage then it is a really big deal. These people do not live in the real world. Of course it will encourage fly tipping that will cost a hundred times more to clear up than they will generate from charging for this facility that remember, we already pay for in our council tax. Why do councils ‘never’do anything that regular people on the street would want them to do?

    Report this comment

    Zameer

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Come on guys you cannot be serious! All aspects of public life is taxed so let's no go after a behaviour we want to encourage, or will any extra revenue then pay for cleaning up increased fly-tipping. Think it through..........

    Report this comment

    The Lone Gunman

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • ...."Yes. Its a standing charge, it does not buy you any services. It just pays for the staff and the offices".....well said Resident, but it will fall on deaf ears amongst most of the posters on here who's political venom far exceeds any ability for rational judgement. When NCC have closed all but a few recycling centres, and you have to travel 20 miles to your nearest 'free' tip, people will realise that Brandon Lewis led them up the wrong garden waste path.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Don't we already pay?

    Report this comment

    Vic Sponge

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Local government officials are caught between a rock and a hard place trying to find additional revenue to fill the gap left behind by government funding cuts. However, this idea is fundamentally flawed as it will cost far more to administer than they suggest. The administration and training of recycling staff to handle money and the additional resources needed to counter the inevitable increase in fly tipping would invariably be more than they think or have budgeted for. As others have said people will burn more rubbish or find other environmentally harmful ways of disposing of it. Time to think again NCC!

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • These conflicts are unnecessary really. What NCC should do before they even debate an idea is ask Brandon Lewis if they are doing the right thing for Norfolk. If he says no, then don't do it, and if he says yes then press ahead with the idea. Of course he might just abstain, and just sit on the fence. Oh I can't remember what he said about the incinerator, a much more important issue than a £2 charge for dumping your waste legally, perhaps he was on holiday at the time.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Just cause more fly-tipping that will cost far more to clear up. Mind you as a walking club member try walking our footpaths and you will see the rubbish some home owners dump in gardens. About time the council did something about them. Tourists must think we are a load of litter louts

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • A bad idea from a council with consequetive flawed administrations. A council that failed to act on its voters mandate, that failed to democratically debate and educate its own councillors and a council that has cost us dearly. These are the only ideas they can come up with, charging us for what we are already paying, a failing punitive administration.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • So here we go again.The Norflk COunty Cpouncil want to charge for tipping rubbish. Its another way of making us the tax Payer fill their loose coffers once again due to the past and present wastatge NCC have spent so much on different schemes had Grants from EEU community funds to assist, mucked these schemes or cancelled them once the money has been had, and where do we hear councillors taking large cuts in their expenses.

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • We are conscientious enough to take our rubbish to the recycling centre - sometimes quite a few miles - in OUR cars, using our PETROL and they still want more! Also, how can they consider charges at some sites and not others? Obviously the 'Pet' projects are not well enough financed yet! A drastic re-think is necessary on this one.

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Brilliant way for the Tory's to encourage fly tipping. Spixworth road on a few occasions has shown dirty nappies strewn across the road from fly tipping, it's either that or someone has been unlucky shedding their load (no pun intended) in exactly the same place a month apart.

    Report this comment

    tim.j.stubbs

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Of the 442 respondents, 399 said they wouldn't pay and it should be scrapped, 40 said they would pay and it shouldn't be scrapped and 3 said they would pay and it should be scrapped. What, there isn't one person in the whole of Norfolk who wouldn't pay but thinks it shouldn't be scrapped? Of course I have made a statistical error above, who can spot it?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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

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