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Charges have put people off dump - but council blames the weather

PUBLISHED: 11:14 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 15 June 2018

A large amount of fly-tipping rubbish was found just off the car park at St Faith's Common in Horsford in April. Photo: Sharon Moncur-Pearce

A large amount of fly-tipping rubbish was found just off the car park at St Faith's Common in Horsford in April. Photo: Sharon Moncur-Pearce

Archant

Hundreds of people say they have been put-off from using Norfolk’s recycling centres because of new charges, a poll has revealed.

From April 1 the county council introduced charges for DIY waste. Picture: ANTONY KELLYFrom April 1 the county council introduced charges for DIY waste. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Figures show that 35,866 fewer people visited the county’s tips in April this year, compared to the same month in 2017.

Meanwhile, fly-tipping increased by 24pc in the same period - from 930 incidents in April 2017 to 1,158 in April 2018.

It comes as Norfolk County Council brought in controversial new DIY waste charges on April 1.

The authority removed a concession which allowed people to leave one item or up to 80 litres of DIY waste at its recycling centres for no charge.

Of the 670 people who voted on our online poll, 91 percent said they had been put off from using the dump because of the charges.

But the county council said the drop in visitors - and the amount of waste being disposed of - could be attributed to the bad weather.

A council spokesman said: “We know the weather can have a considerable effect on visitor numbers and the weather was not great during this month [April].

“We saw a drop in all materials especially green waste in April 2018 compared to previous years, and a fall in green waste is linked with the weather.”

Despite this, in May 2018, which was one of the warmest on record, visitor numbers dropped by 14,335 from 122,210 in May 2017.

The amount of waste dumped at Norfolk’s recycling centres in April 2018 fell by 30pc compared to April 2017.

In regard to increased fly-tipping, the county council said the majority of items would have been accepted free-of-charge at its recycling centres.

“Previous changes to our recycling centre service, such as making sites part time, have not shown an increase in illegal dumping of waste,” the council spokesman said.

Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council, said the charges will not save the taxpayer any money.

He said the costs will be shifted onto the district councils, which are responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste.

Norwich Green Party councillor Martin Schmierer said he would like the council’s decision to be reviewed.

“I don’t know how much [fly tipping] is directly linked to the decision to start charging for DIY waste, but I sense it has exacerbated an existing problem,” he said.

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