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Household DIY Waste Charges Abolished But Council Set To Impose New Fees And May Close Tips

By Times Reporter and Local Democracy Reporting Service in Environment News on December 18, 2023

People in Hampshire are set to face new charges for large amounts of DIY waste they take to Hampshire’s tips – and some tips could be closed.

It comes after the government introduced new rules to abolish charges on small amounts of DIY waste brought to household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

A council report said the changes could attract “tensions” between staff and residents so a “zero tolerance” approach to any form of abuse to site staff carrying out their duties will be in place to protect them.

Charges for soil, rubble, plasterboard and asbestos have been in place since October 2016 at Hampshire’s tips and residents are expected to pay £3 per part or whole standard rubble bag, £3 per individual item, £6 per classic rubble bag or part bag, or £10 per sheet or part sheet, and for a sheet of cement-bonded asbestos, they are required to pay £12.

Soil and rubble are accepted at all tips except New Alresford, plasterboard is taken at every tip and cement-bonded asbestos is accepted at Andover, Basingstoke, Efford, Netley and Portsmouth HWRCs.

However, since the legislation will change, all the local authorities must lift their charges by the new year.

Despite charges being lifted, the government has set criteria on what constitutes as an “acceptable” volume of DIY waste to be dumped.

Bearing that in mind, the county council considers that a system of monitoring and enforcement is required to ensure these criteria points and to provide an “effective trade waste deterrent to any unscrupulous trader who may wish to take advantage of the policy change”, a report that was presented to the cabinet members on December 12th said.

The booking system will be upgraded to maintain a record of a household’s monthly allowance within the prescribed limit for minimal additional resources.

If a household wishes to deposit a higher amount than the prescribed limit, the county council, under the new legislation, would no longer classify the waste as household; therefore, a charge could be applied. In this event, residents would have the option to pay for the surplus material or take it away with them.

To control that, the booking system upgrade will provide evidence to enable the county council to apply a charge.

The legislation says that households may deposit “up to two 50-litre rubble bags, or one bulky or fitted item no larger than 2,000mm by 750mm by 700mm, the approximate size of a bathtub or shower screen, at a frequency of four visits per household over a four-week period”.

To comply with legislation by January 1, 2024, and after reviewing the tonnage intakes of DIY waste streams over the past few years, the council will evaluate potential options for closing some tips down.

The four options focus on whether to maintain the existing sites, scale down to high and medium-usage tips only, scale down to one site per district area or scale down to only those sites that accept cement-bonded asbestos.

Despite this, it is recommended that the provision remain until the council reviews the impact of removing the charges and “understands” them.

For Hampshire County Council, the change will mean that the cost associated with the haulage and disposal of these waste types could mean an extra pressure of around £2.5 million per year to waste disposal costs.

Therefore, an additional allocation of around £1 million, subject to approval by full council in February, has already had to be added to the 2024/25 waste budget as a contingency to cover this pressure.

The report also indicated that despite the changes will be positively welcomed by residents, the impact on the council’s budget could be “severe”.

The report said: “It is clear that the change to the legislative position for acceptance of DIY type waste will have a significant impact on Hampshire County Council.

“While it is recognised that a removal of nominal charges will be seen as a positive for residents wishing to carry out DIY projects on their homes in the current financial climate, the impact on waste disposal budgets could potentially be severe.”

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