‘Popular’ Norfolk DIY waste charge shake-up forecast to save council £500,000

DIY waste charge shake-up could save the council money. Photo: Jonathan Tidswell/citizenside.com

DIY waste charge shake-up could save the council money. Photo: Jonathan Tidswell/citizenside.com - Credit: citizenside.com

Controversial changes to what people can dispose of for free at Norfolk's tips look likely to save the council almost half a million pounds - more than officers had predicted.

And the shake-up, which means people have to pay to get rid of DIY waste at the county council's recycling centres, was described as 'popular' by one councillor.

In April, Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council removed a concession which had allowed people to leave up to 80 litres of DIY waste at its recycling centres for no charge.

That means people now have to pay £3 for getting rid of a bag of rubble and item of timber, and £9 for plasterboard.

The council said the move would save it £280,000 a year.

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But, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's policy and resources committee today, it emerged the council was now predicting it would save £500,000.

Liberal Democrat group leader Dan Roper questioned why the forecast saving had been so wrong.

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Tom McCabe, director of community and environmental services, said the original figure had been a conservative estimate.

He said the savings total was a combination of the cost increase and a reduction in how much the council was having to pay to get rid of DIY waste.

He said: 'If waste isn't coming in, then we don't have to dispose of it.'

Mr Roper asked: 'Are you saying there are now less trips, so that is increasing the savings because people are not going to recycling centres as often as they used to?'

Martin Wilby, Conservative chairman of the council's environment, development and transport committee, said whenever he went to recycling centres they were always busy.

He said: 'The new way of working seems very popular with our residents.'

The charging change led to claims that it had led to more fly-tipping.

Deputy leader Graham Plant said the fly-tipping which was occurring was not DIY waste, but was general waste, which can still be disposed of for free at recycling centres.

He said that was why the council had launched a campaign to combat fly-tipping.

What are the charges?

People can still dispose of household waste for free.

But these are the charges for DIY-type waste (cost is per item/per 80 litre bag or equivalent:

Plasterboard and plaster - £9 (£15 at Mile Cross) Rubble £3 including: floor and wall tiles; sinks, toilets and ceramic shower trays; bricks, concrete and concrete posts; paving slabs and stones Timber £3 including: fitted kitchen units; fitted and built in furniture; doors, door frames and skirting; fence panels; wooden garden structures; decking, fencing, trellises, pergolas and arches Non-recyclable £5 including: insulation and roof felt; plastic guttering, drains and facia' baths and shower trays; soil and turf; pond liners and garden membranes; doors, windows and frames Flat glass £5 - including windows and glass doors Metals - no charge.

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