Banning councils from charging households to leave DIY waste at recycling centres could lead to HWRC closures and reduced hours in some council areas, a survey by the Local Government Association (LGA) shows.
In June, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced households will no longer have to pay to get rid of DIY waste at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) following what the UK government described as “overwhelming” public support.
A snapshot survey by the National Association of Waste Disposal Organisations and the LGA found that due to the reduced income from the change a third of impacted councils would consider closing recycling centres, over a quarter would consider reduced opening hours, and a quarter would consider reducing the material types they accept.
The LGA is urging the Government to reverse the plans which the organisation claims will cost some councils upwards of £1 million.
According to the survey, 97% of respondents do not expect the ban on charges to be offset by savings in dealing with fly-tipping or elsewhere.
We are urging the Government to rethink this plan; it is not a good time to be reducing waste services popular with our residents.
Finally, the survey shows three in four councils impacted fear that the ban will lead to large, wider increases in costs beyond the loss of income, which the LGA says is in part because of the risk small commercial operators masquerade as households.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA, commented: “Public satisfaction with local waste services remains high, which is something councils are proud of and work hard to maintain.
“For many councils, reducing their abilities to charge for the disposal of DIY waste will lead to funding reductions that will have to be passed on to reduced waste services popular with our residents.
“We continue to seek genuine solutions to fly-tipping and are pressing for tougher sentencing and greater use of tracking technology. We are urging the Government to rethink this plan; it is not a good time to be reducing waste services popular with our residents.”
Around a third of local authorities still charge for household DIY waste. The changes will mean councils treat DIY waste the same as household waste and potentially could save households up to £10 for an individual item – for example, a sheet of plasterboard.
The Government intends for the move to make it easier and cheaper for people making home improvements to dispose of their waste – and potentially reduce fly-tipped waste.