North Yorkshire Council is considering a range of measures to prevent commercial organisations dumping waste at household recycling centres.
The authority says while 17 per cent of visits to its 20 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are made by non-North Yorkshire residents, equating to 229,300 visits last year, all of its neighbouring councils except York run residents’ permit or booking systems.
A 12-week public engagement exercise is set to be approved next Monday as the council looks to identify savings to help achieve a balanced budget and to deliver efficient and effective services as part of a transformation initiative.
The authority, which is facing losing about £800,000 annually in revenue after the Government moved to stop councils charging for the disposal of DIY materials, is examining limiting the number of times commercial-type vehicles can visit waste sites to 12 times a year, introducing weighing devices at waste centres or even banning trade waste.
A report to a meeting of senior councillors and officers states other options include asking residents to bring proof of address when visiting the HWRCs or extending a permit scheme already in place in Stokesley to prevent Teesside residents using the site.
Other potential measures include diverting trade waste to waste disposal facilities already equipped with weighbridges.
The officers’ report states: “We anticipate that a limit of 12 visits per year will see a reduction of 36,000 visits in vehicles designed to accommodate large payloads and volumes.”
Although the report highlights a charity report rejecting any link between fly-tipping and increasing charges for waste, after North Yorkshire County Council previously introduced charges for some types of waste, some district councils said it sparked a clear rise in fly-tipping.
Some opposition leaders on the authority said they feared any measures which made it more difficult or costly for waste to be disposed of could trigger and increase in fly-tipping.
Executive member for managing our environment Councillor Greg White said trade waste was “costing the council a lot of money to get rid of trade waste which it has accepted at too low a price”.
He said he had made it clear options in the engagement exercise should not make disposing of waste more difficult for residents or go against the authority’s other objectives, such as cutting carbon emissions.
He said the authority was looking to “draw a line in the sand” and was examining introducing weighing machines at its waste centres to ensure the correct amount was being charged for trade waste, and also as an alternative to banning trade waste altogether.
Coun White said if trade waste was banned at certain sites it could lead to businesses having further to travel to dispose of waste, exacerbating carbon emissions.
He said: “I’m alive to the risk of fly-tipping, alive to the risk of making it difficult for people who pay their council tax and are entitled to use centres and aware that some people only have a van. Twelve visits to recycling centres a year seems a reasonable compromise.
“Most fly-tipping is deliberate. Unless we were to make it completely free some people will still chose to fly-tip to avoid charges. In recent fly-tipping prosecutions the council has billed householders whose responsibility it is to ensure those they give waste to are proper bone fide people.”