Norwich charity shop 'rip-off' under fire

A Norfolk council has been branded “disgraceful” for hitting charity shops in the pocket by overcharging for waste disposal. Research by the Association of Charity Shops shows that Norwich City Council charges charity shops for both the collection and disposal of their waste as if it were commercial waste.

A Norfolk council has been branded “disgraceful” for hitting charity shops in the pocket by overcharging for waste disposal.

Research by the Association of Charity Shops shows that Norwich City Council charges charity shops for both the collection and disposal of their waste as if it were commercial waste. This is contrary to regulations - and could double the bill.

David Moir, head of policy at the association, said: “The controlled waste regulations are quite clear - local authorities can only charge for the collection of waste from a charity shop.

“Norwich knows this, yet it continues to rip shops off by including an extra charge for disposal of the waste. Charity shop waste is classed as household waste - the law does not allow disposal charges to be made for household waste.”

The association estimates that each shop could be paying £400 more each year than it should.

Mr Moir said: “We wrote to Norwich last year. We also telephoned on many occasions. But, it did not reply to any of our approaches, and charity shops in Norwich are still being overcharged. This is disgraceful.”

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Norwich's performance does not compare well with Ipswich which collects waste from charity shops as part of its trade waste contract, but has made arrangements to ensure that charity shops only pay an equivalent to the collection charge.

John Canessa, chairman of the association, said: “Volunteers and staff in charity shops work tremendously hard to raise vital funds. In the UK last year, they raised £110m for vital charitable causes.

“They also prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of goods becoming waste each year. This helps local authorities. For local authorities to wrongly take money away from these funds is scandalous.

“Is it really too much to ask Norwich to simply apply the law correctly?”

A spokesman for the council said collection and disposal was overseen by an outside contractor which had resulted in the charges.

He added: “We are carrying out a review of our waste management strategy which will look at how we deal with all our waste collection, including that of charity shops.

“Charity shops play a valuable role in the work they do and in the city's economy and we will do all we can to make sure we retain them.”

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