Three more councils have announced charges at their household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) for construction waste due to stretched budgets.
Re3, the waste management partnership between Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham borough councils, will start charging residents to dispose of soil, rubble, plasterboard, asbestos and gas bottles at its FCC Environment-run HWRCs from 30 September.
It will also introduce a permitting scheme for residents visiting two centres in commercial-type vehicles such as vans.
Reading’s lead councillor for neighbourhoods, Liz Terry, said: “It has not been an easy decision to introduce these charges.
“We know the recycling centres are popular with residents. But we are not are not legally obliged to deal with non-household waste and, in the current climate of severe budget cuts, we can no longer afford to accept it free of charge.
“Our spending priorities are now being focused on the most essential areas and, by making savings in waste management, we may be able to divert funding to frontline services that help vulnerable residents.”
Wokingham executive member for environment Angus Ross said: “It will help us to reinforce the crackdown on trade waste dumping while still providing a service for those residents who need to dispose of non-household waste when doing DIY around their homes.”
Currently, vehicles such as vans are allowed to enter the recycling centres between 2pm and 4pm Monday-Saturday. But Re3 said firms have been using it as a way to get rid of their commercial waste for free.
It said that if just 1% of what is deposited at the recycling centres came from traders, it would cost the Re3 partnership councils £68,000 a year to process it.
Chairman of the Re3’s joint waste disposal board, Dorothy Hayes, said: “We see Re3 as a non-profit making business, and we have a responsibility to residents to provide the best value for money and effective waste management service possible.
“Commercial and commercial-type vehicle permits will allow us to take action on those unscrupulous firms who are currently abusing the system and depositing their waste for free.”
The Dorset Waste Partnership, Hampshire and Surrey county councils are all set to introduce similar charges in the next two months.
Such moves by councils have been backed by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee. It said construction waste taken to HWRCs has increased significantly in recent years due to higher skip fees caused by the increase in landfill tax. There is no statutory duty for councils to receive it.
Meanwhile, Essex County Council proposed a ban on vans entering its HWRCs.