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The period April-June 2017 saw the lowest number of ‘small scale’ fly-tipping incidents for two years

Figures back council’s recycling approach

A new report shows no long-term increase in fly-tipping after the introduction of small charges for recycling non-household waste.

Based on statistics compiled by Staffordshire’s eight borough and district councils over a 12 month period after charging began in November 2016, the report says that the number of fly-tipping incidents in different areas either stayed unchanged, or rose briefly before returning to pre-November levels.

And the report adds that the period April-June 2017 saw the lowest number of ‘small scale’ fly-tipping incidents for two years.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said:

Charging to cover the costs of disposing of non-household waste materials such as soil, rubble, plasterboard and tyres ensures that we can offer residents a convenient way to dispose of awkward and difficult waste, while allowing us to focus resources on supporting the most vulnerable people in our society.

These figures, gathered by the district and borough councils, are entirely in line with our expectations before the scheme started and I never thought the people of Staffordshire would break the law rather than pay £3 or £4 to dispose of non-household waste legally.”

In line with other authorities, the County Council introduced small charges to cover the cost of recycling non-household waste at the county’s 14 household waste recycling centres. A big bag of soil and or rubble costs £3; plasterboard £4 per sheet, or big bag; and tyres cost £4 each.

The report, to be considered by a county council scrutiny committee next month, says visits to household waste recycling centres involving the chargeable items amounted to 2.5 per cent of all visits over the 12 month period.

Gill Heath added:

Although there has been no long term increase in small scale fly-tipping, there has been a rise in recent years of criminal gangs dumping tonnes of commercial waste in the countryside.

Both types of crime are terribly anti-social. We are working with police, the Environment Agency and other local councils and I would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact the police immediately.”

Although there were eight complaints in November 2016 that recycling centre staff did not accept cash payments, there were only five further complaints on the subject in the next 11 months.

The sites still accept household waste free of charge, including hedge clippings, or a few tree branches, mattresses, electrical appliances and household furniture. A full list is available at the site and can also be found at www.staffordshire.gov.uk and search ‘recycling centres’.