Households will no longer have to pay to get rid of DIY waste, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced today (Sunday 18 June).
Following what the UK government described as overwhelming public support, Defra says it will abolish the fees which some local authorities charge for disposing of DIY waste at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).
This sets out to support householders to dispose of their waste in a “responsible manner and encourage recycling”, Defra says.
Around a third of Local Authorities still charge for household DIY waste. The changes outlined today will mean councils treat DIY waste the same as household waste and could save households up to £10 for an individual item – for example, a sheet of plasterboard.
It is intended that the move will make it much easier and cheaper for people making home improvements to dispose of their waste – and may reduce fly-tipped waste.
We want to make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of their waste properly and that’s why we are removing the financial burden on doing the right thing with DIY trash.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of their waste properly and that’s why we are removing the financial burden on doing the right thing with DIY trash.
“This not only supports our wider work to tackle fly-tipping and waste crime, but we are helping home improvers across the nations make their dream projects a reality.”
These changes complement wider action being taken to tackle fly-tipping and waste crime, which is estimated to cost the economy £924m per year in England. Earlier this year Defra announced grants totalling £775,000 to help councils roll out a range of projects to crack down on fly-tipping.
Defra has consulted on reforming the waste carrier, broker, dealer regime and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking, and are also developing a fly-tipping toolkit with National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group to help spread best practice among local authorities on tackling the issue.
Protecting local environment
Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler, said: “We welcome any measures that make it easier for householders to dispose of waste correctly and responsibly at their local Household Waste Recycling Centre, which in turn reduces the chance of it falling into the hands of criminals or being fly-tipped.
“Tackling the scourge of waste crime, from low-level fly-tipping to industrial-scale illegal operations, will require a multifaceted approach which is why we also support additional measures being introduced to help local authorities and to implement digital waste tracking alongside reform of the licensing regime for waste carriers, brokers and dealers.”
We welcome any measures that make it easier for householders to dispose of waste correctly and responsibly…
The Government clarified the law in 2015 that local taxpayers should not be charged for disposing of household waste at civic amenity sites – scrapping backdoor “tip taxes”. It has also repeatedly stated that councils should not be charging for such DIY household waste disposal either.
The changes announced today clarify that DIY household waste should be treated the same as household waste.
These reforms set out to protect the local environment by encouraging responsible waste disposal, whilst keeping down the cost of living for households.
Construction waste is considered to be DIY waste and should be treated as household waste, when it meets the following four conditions:
- the waste is produced by householders whilst carrying out small-scale construction or demolition works at their home;
- the waste does not arise from activities that generate an income for the person who carried them out;
- the waste is not produced on a regular basis requiring HWRC visits more frequently than four times per household over a four week period; and
- the quantity of waste per visit is no greater than two 50L rubble bags or 1 bulky or fitted item no larger than 2000mm x 750mm x700mm, such as a bath tub.
If these conditions are not met, the waste is still construction waste and can be charged for.
There were a total of 2,238 responses to the consultation. Over 90% of respondents agreed with our proposals to amend legislation to ensure that householders are not charged for the disposal of DIY waste at HWRCs.
Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, commented: “CIWM understands the desire to have consistency across local authorities when it comes to HWRC services but this announcement from Defra is questionable. CIWM is not aware of any research that shows unequivocally a link between charging for waste at HWRCs and increased fly-tipping.
“CIWM feels there are more important issues to be addressed, including increasing recycling and reducing overall waste arisings. By being able to charge, local authorities can provide better services and divert more materials into recycling.
CIWM feels there are more important issues to be addressed, including increasing recycling and reducing overall waste arisings.
“Local authorities have estimated the cost of removing charges will be around one million pounds. That is money that will have to be taken from other services at a time when local authority budgets are squeezed.
“CIWM urges Defra to work with our local authority members in drafting the technical details of these changes as there are still some concerns about how workable and enforceable they will be as currently outlined by Defra.”