Waste disposal charges “not to blame” for fly-tipping rise

Richmondshire District Council has seen a rise in fly-tipping in recent years.
North Yorkshire County Council has rejected claims that its move to charge for the disposal of construction and demolition waste has fuelled a rise in fly-tipping.

The council said the volume of fly-tipped waste that can still be disposed of for free at its recycling centres suggested the introduction of charges for materials such as hardcore and rubble was unlikely to be responsible for the increase in fly-tipping across the county.

The authority was responding to claims in a Hambleton District Council report which stated fly-tipping clear-up costs had risen between 22 per cent and 302 per cent across North Yorkshire district authorities between 2014/15 and 2016/17.

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The district council report said the rise had happened in the three years since the county council introduced charges at its 20 recycling centres, to save £330,000 as part of its budget cuts.

A report to a meeting of Hambleton’s cabinet next week states: “Whilst incidents of fly-tipping of household waste had decreased, there had been an increase in the incidents of fly-tipped tyres and construction waste.

“This showed a direct correlation with the implementation of charging for these materials at the North Yorkshire County Council-run Household Waste and Recycling Centres.”

Ahead of the county authority introducing the fees, its assistant director of waste and countryside services, Ian Fielding,had relayed to members that residents and district councils were concerned it could lead to more fly-tipping.

In a report at the time, Mr Fielding added: “Feedback from other authorities who have implemented charges for similar waste suggests that while there might be a slight increase after the initial introduction of charging, this will decline over time, having a minimal impact on projected savings.”

A county council spokesman said fly-tipping was increasing across the country.

He added: “Analysis of fly-tipping in the years immediately before and after the introduction of these charges shows an increase in recorded incidents of fly-tipping greater than national averages at that time.

“However, the instances of fly-tipping of hardcore, rubble and plasterboard waste (construction and demolition waste) remained relatively small by comparison, less than ten per cent, and reflected national levels.”

The council spokesman said fly-tipping often comprised bulky waste that is not collected as part of the normal refuse collection service.

He said: “The district and borough councils in North Yorkshire all chose to charge for the collection of bulky waste, with prices ranging between approximately £25 and £50 depending on amounts, with some offering reductions for those on benefits.

“As with charges at recycling centres, the evidence can be interpreted to suggest a correlation between fly-tipping and the introduction and increases in these charges, although there is currently no known causal link between these factors.”

The county council urged residents to ensure anyone they paid to dispose of rubbish had an appropriate licence.

Between December and January 2016, 3,765 fly-tips were reported, of which approximately ten per cent were investigated, with 75 resulting in a warning letter being sent out by district councils. Nineteen fixed penalty notices were served and one prosecution was made.

The spokesman added: “Regardless of charges for bulky waste collection or disposal of certain waste at recycling centes, fly-tipping is a crime that requires effective enforcement to act as a deterrent.”