East Dorset District Council’s Community Committee has decided to support the government proposals to prevent any charges for residents to use Household Recycling Centres (HRCs).
On 22 January, the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) published a consultation document entitled “Preventing ‘backdoor’ charging at household waste recycling centres” which invites comments on “the Secretary of State’s proposed approach to upholding the principle that residents should continue to have free access to household waste recycling centres in their local authority area where they can deposit their household rubbish and recycling for free.”
EDDC is an active partner in the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) and is a strong supporter of the ‘recycle for Dorset’ waste collection service that DWP operates on behalf of all Dorset councils.
DWP is currently running a consultation which invites comments on proposed money-saving changes to Dorset’s 11 HRCs. The consultation options include closing one or more HRCs, charging for entry at one or more HRCs, closing all HRCs for two or three weekdays or charging Dorset residents to use HRCs in other areas, such as Bournemouth, Poole or Hampshire.
Although it is recognised this is a consultation, the East Dorset District Council representatives on the DWP Joint Committee opposed the HRC charging options as they would have a major impact on those in East Dorset who are the greatest non resident users of the Bournemouth, Poole and Hampshire HRCs.
Due to responses to the government’s consultation being required by 18 February, an urgent late report went to East Dorset’s Community Committee seeking agreement to a response to the consultation.
The government’s proposal is to amend sections of the Local Government Act 2003 and Localism Act 2011 so that a local authority will not be permitted to charge persons resident in its area for depositing household waste at an HRC or charging for entry or exit.
However, the proposals would not prevent local authorities for charging residents who live outside their area. So Bournemouth, Hampshire or Poole could decide to charge East Dorset residents for using the HRCs in their areas.
The committee decided to support the government proposals and to suggest that the changes in legislation be extended to also prevent local authorities charging residents from outside their area for using a HRC.
Cllr Mike Dyer, Lead Member for the Environment, said: “We at East Dorset District Council have consistently opposed charges being introduced for residents taking household waste to any HRC. We agree with the government that HRC charges will inconvenience residents, lead to an increase in fly tipping and the burning of wastes and discourage recycling. We will be opposing any proposal to charge our residents for using any HRC in our area or in any neighbouring authority.”