Families in Lancashire could face tip charges for DIY waste

Preston Houshold Waste Recycling Centre on Tom Benson Way, Ingol
Preston Houshold Waste Recycling Centre on Tom Benson Way, Ingol
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County Hall bosses are clamping down on the amount of DIY rubbish families can take to the tip for free.

The council wants to limit the amount of waste people can dump at recycling centres free of charge, in order to shave £750,000 off the budget.

The new policy, if agreed, would require residents to apply for a free permit to let them dispose of up to 10 25kg bags of DIY waste a year without charge.

A charge of £3.50 for every further 25kg would then be applied, or for any waste delivered without a permit.

Lancashire County Council needs to save £315m by April 2018 because of government cuts, and the new policy is being considered to cut about £750,000 a year from dealing with waste such as soil, rubble and plasterboard.

The council agreed in 2013 to consider placing limits on and charging for certain waste types, which they said would help maintain a “good quality service within a tighter budget”. The proposal will be considered by County Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection and waste, on Tuesday.

If agreed, it will be introduced from April next year, if the cabinet gives the go-ahead when setting the budget.

Steve Scott, head of waste management, said: “First and foremost we provide Household Waste Recycling Centres to allow people to recycle and dispose of normal household waste free of charge, which is a statutory duty for all waste disposal authorities.

“However, our current service also allows unlimited free disposal of DIY wastes which include rubble, soil and plasterboard, amongst others, which isn’t a statutory duty.

“This is proving very expensive for the council to deal with, and unfortunately something we can’t continue to do in the present financial climate. Many other councils already charge for or place limits on DIY waste.

“Importantly, by providing free disposal of a reasonable amount of waste, the new policy will encourage people to be responsible, and residents will still be able to complete small scale DIY projects and use HWRCs without charge after applying for a permit. At the same time, by introducing charges our proposal also provides flexibility for those who want the convenience of taking DIY waste without a permit or taking more than the limited free amount. But ultimately we need to reduce the cost to the council of disposing of DIY waste, and other options such as skip hire will provide better value for money for people engaged in larger household DIY projects.”