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Larac backs HWRC charges

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) has backed recent moves by councils to block construction waste being disposed of at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Chair Andrew Bird warned earlier this year that continued budget cuts would force councils to do “less with less” and some authorities look set to make such changes.

From September, the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) will introduce charges at its HWRCs for the disposal of plasterboard, tyres, asbestos, gas bottles, construction waste and soil, while all trade waste will be rejected.

Plasterboard disposal will cost £2.50 a bag, construction waste and soil £1.50 a bag and tyres £5 each. Residents will be charged more for the disposal of asbestos and gas canisters.

Surrey County Council is set to introduce a similar scheme at nine of its 15 HWRCs, also starting in September. But it has prompted a petition signed by more than 1,500 residents calling for the charges to be scrapped.

Meanwhile Essex County Council is refusing allow access by vans or multi-axle trailers at 12 of its 21 HWRCs from October after reporting increases in DIY and construction waste.

Now Bird has backed the moves, saying the amount of construction waste being disposed of at HWRCs has increased significantly in the past few years due to an increase in skip fees caused by higher disposal costs.

He agreed that householders would end up paying more, but said there was no statutory duty for councils to continue recycling construction waste.

“Demolition and construction materials do not fall in the remit of household waste so, while authorities can provide those services, statutorily they do not have to.

“Financially things are very difficult [for local authorities] and you have to find ways of maintaining your core services.

“Anything else has to be looked at differently and that is one of them. It is understandable why charges are being brought into those areas.”

Bird said at an industry event in June, before the EU referendum, that “the time has come where things will stop happening” due to councils’ continued budget cuts from an austerity-driven Government.

He said previous efforts to find efficiency savings had been exhausted, and cast doubt over the UK’s ability to reach its 50% recycling target by 2020.

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