Fears new charges to leave DIY waste at Norfolk tips could increase fly-tipping

Dereham Recycling Centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Recycling Centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

People carrying out home improvements will soon have to pay to leave DIY waste at recycling centres in Norfolk.

For years keen DIYers have been able to take a small amount of waste to tips in the county and leave it for free but from April this will no longer be the case.

Items such as doors, sinks and fence panels will be subject to charges, ranging from £3 to £9 an item, as Norfolk County Council looks to reduce costs at its 20 recycling centres.

From April 1 it will be removing the concession which allowed people to take one large item or up to 80 litres of waste for no charge.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said the decision was made as the council 'is not legally required to take people's DIY waste'.

Couple doing DIY. Picture Archant.

Couple doing DIY. Picture Archant. - Credit: Archant

'I would urge people to make sure they are factoring in the cost of disposing of waste when they are spending on their latest DIY project,' he said. 'I must stress that this change will only affect DIY waste. Our recycling centres will still take all household waste for free which includes furniture, sofas, white goods and other electrical items, and garden waste.'

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The change is expected to save the authority approximately £280,000 a year and this will be used to offset the cost of waste disposal from household recycling centres which totalled £7.5m last year.

But some fear the cost will encourage more people to start fly-tipping to save money.

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Penny Camish, 55, from Stalham, has a number of wooden window frames to get rid of.

Mile Cross Recycling Centre. Photo: Google Maps

Mile Cross Recycling Centre. Photo: Google Maps - Credit: Google

She said the pricing changes may lead her to renting a skip but she thinks others will start dumping illegally.

'I'm trying to be responsible and separate the wood from the glass but in a climate where we are encouraged to recycle I think this is a deterrent,' she said. 'All it is going to do is encourage people to fly-tip.'

District councils are responsible for the collection of illegally dumped rubbish but a spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said previous changes have not seen an increase in fly-tipping.

'The majority of fly-tipping is of items that would have been accepted free of charge at our recycling centres such as sofas, white goods and other electrical items,' she said. 'This waste will continue to be accepted for free.'

'It's a bit rubbish'

People out and about in Norwich gave their views on the introduction of charges.

• David Reid, 68, Norwich: 'It's a tough one. But if the council are going to earn money out of the recycled products, it can be self-financing.

'A lot of people are now going to be encouraged to fly-tip – it will most definitely increase. Norfolk has so many little lanes and countryside, it's so open.'

• Cathy Miles, 36, Norwich: 'It's a bit rubbish and I think it will put people off.

'Rubbish is going to build up at home and in people's gardens – I think that will definitely be a problem. It will absolutely increase fly-tipping.

'I only do a little bit of DIY but I do use the tip. You already have to pay for certain things.'

• David Brandall, 71, Dereham: 'I think people will fly-tip it – there's a big problem with fly-tipping. People will not pay to get rid of their rubbish or for someone to take it away. So I think it will do more harm than good.

'The honest people who know that you shouldn't fly-tip will pay, but other people will just dump it. We will have to pay the fees, whether we like it or not. If it's recyclable, I don't think they should charge.'

• Barry Webdale, 52, Fakenham: 'I think it's totally wrong. I know a lot of people put it in the wheelie bin.

'It will without a doubt increase fly-tipping. People won't pay to tip rubbish, they'll just go out at night to the countryside and dump it in a gateway. Then it will cost more because the council will have to go and clear it up.

'If it's rubbish, it should be free disposal. You should not be charged for anything that is waste.

'Council tax should cover all of that. If you take waste to the tip, it should be free.'

What is DIY waste?

DIY construction and demolition waste that will be charged for from April 1 2018:

• Timber - including kitchen units, fitted furniture, doors, laminate flooring and floorboards, sheds, fence panels, decking, garden structures

• Rubble - including sinks, toilets, bricks, concrete, stones, tiles

• Flat glass - including glass from windows and doors, greenhouses, shower screens

• Plasterboard - all plasterboard and plaster

• General waste - including roofing felt, plastic guttering, fibreglass insulation.

Additional reporting by Danielle Martin

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