East Dorset council opposes DWP HWRC charging plans

 East Dorset council opposes DWP HWRC charging plans

East Dorset District Council has announced that it is opposed to Dorset Waste Partnership’s (DWP) proposals to charge residents for using household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), following central government’s publication of draft legislation banning the practice.

DWP HWRC consultation

In November 2014, DWP launched a public consultation asking Dorset residents for their views on possible money-saving changes to the county’s HWRCs.

The consultation, which runs until next Friday (13 February), was launched in response to continuing financial pressures on the DWP and its seven partner councils (Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council and West Dorset District Council), and identified several routes that could be taken to make its 11 HWRCs ‘more cost-effective’.

The proposals included:

  • closing all HWRCs for two or three weekdays (saving up to £300,000 a year);
  • charging residents to dispose of non-household materials, such as DIY waste and tyres (saving £250,000 a year);
  • closing one or more of the HWRCs (saving up to £100,000 a year per site);
  • charging Dorset residents to use their HWRCs in neighbouring areas, which the DWP currently subsidises (saving £70,000 a year); or
  • charging for entry at one or more HWRCs instead of closing them (saving £65,000 a year per site).

Proposed ban on HWRC charges

However, in a discussion paper issued last month, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) revealed that it was considering implementing two new pieces of legislation that would prevent councils from introducing charges to residents disposing of household waste and/or recycling at HWRCs (however, charges for non-residents and non-household waste/recycling may still apply).

The government department said it was ‘concerned’ that HWRC charges would ‘inconvenience residents; increase fly-tipping and back-yard burning; and make recycling harder for people rather than… easier’.

As such, the ‘Local Government (Prohibition of Charges for the Deposit of Household Waste at a Household Waste Recycling Centre) (England) Order 2015’ and ‘Local Authorities (Prohibition of Charging Residents to Deposit Household Waste) Order 2015’ were drafted proposing that, from 31 March 2015, councils would not be able to apply charges at ‘discretionary’ HWRCs when residents are entering, exiting or depositing household waste.

Following this announcement, East Dorset District Council’s Community Committee has said it will support the government proposals to prevent any charges for residents to use HWRCs.

Further to this, the committee has also revealed that in its response to DCLG’s discussion paper on the proposed laws, it will be urging government to extend the ban to prevent local authorities from charging non-residents for using a HWRC, though it will support HWRC charges for non-household waste such as soil, rubble or tyres.

Councillor Mike Dyer, Lead Member for the Environment at East Dorset District Council, said: “We at East Dorset District Council have consistently opposed charges being introduced for residents taking household waste to any [HWRC].

“We agree with the government that [HWRC] charges will inconvenience residents, lead to an increase in fly-tipping and the burning of wastes and discourage recycling. We will be opposing any proposal to charge our residents for using any [HWRC] in our area or in any neighbouring authority.”

Find out more about DWP’s HWRC proposals, or DCLG’s new draft legislation banning HWRC charges.

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