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HWRC charges 'hit low-income families hardest'

More than 1,000 people in Staffordshire have signed a petition calling on the council to scrap recently introduced charges for its household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

The petition describes the charges for DIY waste at the council’s HWRCs, introduced on 1 November, as a “discriminatory practice” likely to hit low income households hardest.

Like a number of other authorities that have switched in recent months, Staffordshire County Council said budget pressures had prompted charges from 1 November for materials including plasterboard and rubble.

Typical charges now enforced are £3 per bag for spoil or rubble, £4 per bag of plasterboard and £4 per tyre.

But the Scrap the Staffordshire Tipping Tax petition, which says the council has a legal duty to provide waste disposal free of charge for waste created in the household, has secured 1,221 signatures. 

It says: “The county council has a duty to consider the impact of any decisions a cabinet member takes, and of particular note is that they acknowledge that the charges will have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable in our community stating clearly the ‘…greatest impact on low income households’.

“They have pressed ahead regardless with this discriminatory practice.”

As previously reported by MRW, Nick Churchward, a partner at law firm Burges Salmon, has backed councils’ legal right to introduce the charges.

WRAP’s HWRC Guide, published in January, advises councils that DIY waste resulting “from work a householder would normally carry out” is classed as household waste, but Churchward says this is guidance and not a statutory requirement.

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