Lancashire tip charges raise almost £60k in first six months

Anger: The Farington waste and recycling centre in Leyland.

Anger: The Farington waste and recycling centre in Leyland.

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Almost £60,000 has been raised from the public from a new tip charge in the first six months since they were introduced.

The figure was revealed to a resident who has slammed the charges and said they should be part of the annual council tax bill.

Brian Dillon was furious after being charged for using the Lancashire County Council household waste and recycling centre at Farington in Leyland. He said he was unaware of the new charging policy at the time and warned it would result in an increase in fly-tipping.

After sending off a Freedom of Information request to Lancashire County, he received a reply revealing: During the period June-December 2015, Lancashire County Council took £57,594.01 from the public taking domestic waste to their tips.

Mr Dillon said: “Clearly, there is a problem with their communication strategy to tell the public. I still contend that this is very shoddy practice and our council tax should include taking ‘domestic’ waste to the refuse tip.”

He added: “Interestingly, I rang the refuse department at the county council and asked them to define what a ‘bag’ is, as they say 10 bags can be taken to the tip with a permit. They could not define a ‘bag’, how big or how heavy. They say they have no weighing facility and it is purely a guesstimate by the operative. This is not good enough if you are paying - in some cases £35.”

Lancashire County Council said it had made a lot of effort in letting people know about the charging policy.

Steve Scott, head of waste management at Lancashire County Council, said: “Before introducing the new system our service allowed unlimited free disposal of demolition and construction wastes.

“However, this isn’t something that the council is statutorily required to provide, and it cost £750,000 a year, which couldn’t continue due to the very severe pressures on the council’s budget.

“The new arrangement still gives people the opportunity to dispose of a quarter of a tonne of construction and demolition waste each year without charge if they first apply for a permit, and offers the flexibility to pay for additional quantities or in the event that someone visits without a permit.

“The limit on the amount of this type of waste we accept has significantly reduced our costs of transporting and recycling it, whilst still allowing the non-statutory service to continue. The option to pay for additional amounts is intended to provide extra flexibility for householders.”

County councillor Matthew Tomlinson, who represents Leyland central ward, backed the new charges.

He said: “Clearly it’s a household waste recycling centre and it’s aimed at households to bring excess rubbish they want to get rid of. The current charges are there to discourage businesses using it really.

“And the amount that you are allowed to tip I would argue is acceptable to the vast majority of households. The way it was explained to me, if you were having a new bathroom put in, you could turn up at the old bathroom suite and they wouldn’t charge you.People who are being charged are small businesses. It’s there in the title - household waste recycling centre - and in my view it was a decision that seems to be working well.”

You can find information about how Lancashire County Council applies the charge at http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/inert-waste.aspx