Fly-tipping fears remain after first week of DIY charges
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2007
Fears remain that controversial new charges brought in this week for the disposal of DIY waste at Norfolk's tips could lead to an increase in fly-tipping, community leaders have said.
From April 1, Norfolk County Council removed its previous concession on DIY waste, which allowed people to tip either an 80l bag or one item free of charge at any recycling centre.
However now these concessions are no more, fears have been raised that this will lead to an increase in fly-tipping as people look to avoid the charges.
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, is one of those who expressed concerns.
Mr Fuller said: 'I appreciate there is not enough money in local government and the county council is in need of making savings.
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'However, it should not be at the cost of those responsible for clearing up after fly-tippers who do not want to pay the charge.
'A few years ago, when opening hours of recycling centres were reduced, I feel we saw an increase in the amount of fly-tipping, particularly in hot spots close to the centres. I fear the very same thing could happen with this.'
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That was echoed by the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), which also has fears those unwilling to pay the fines may turn to fly-tipping.
Michael Rayner, planning campaign consultant for CPRE Norfolk, said: 'CPRE Norfolk sympathises with the difficult financial situation Norfolk County Council finds itself in and that careful consideration has been given to the need to increase income to help manage cuts in other areas.
'However, we share concerns that by increasing charges for disposal of DIY waste, the council is likely to incur longer term costs both in financial terms and to the environment and countryside.
'This is due to the depressing likelihood of an increase in fly-tipping requiring removal and in the possible increase of domestic bonfires, both of which would prove to be damaging to health and well-being.'
John Fisher, chairman of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, said: 'We know a number of people have raised concerns that this policy may increase the illegal dumping of rubbish.
'Similar fears have been raised in the past when other changes have been made to Norfolk's recycling centre services, such as making sites part-time.
'It's still far too early to say whether recent changes will have any effect but we know these fly-tipping fears have always proven to be unfounded in the past.
'Fly-tipping by residents has not tended to be a problem in the past and we don't expect it to be an issue now. However, we will be monitoring the situation and will take enforcement action as appropriate.'
Mr Fisher added it is often the case that items which tend to be fly-tipped are not those which will be affected by the new charges.
He said: 'The majority of fly-tipping is of items that would have been accepted free of charge at household waste recycling centres, such as sofas, white goods and other electrical items and garden waste.
'These and all household waste can still be taken to the centres for free.
'For people planning DIY projects, local recycling centres will be a cost effective solution for getting rid of their waste and can prove to be cheaper and simpler than other options, such as hiring a skip.'
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council added there had been some confusion from residents relating to exactly which goods the charges apply to.
For full details on what items can and cannot be taken to Norfolk's recycling centres - and which items charges apply for - visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/recyclingcentres