Bulky waste price hike increases fly-tipping fears

Liberal Democrat councillors Ashley Evans, James Baker (centre) and Amanda Parsons-Hulse have been campaigning against fly-tipping
Liberal Democrat councillors Ashley Evans, James Baker (centre) and Amanda Parsons-Hulse have been campaigning against fly-tipping

Higher charges and changes brought in to meet rising costs and streamline Calderdale Council’s bulky waste collection service have been criticised.

Calderdale Liberal Democrats believe the same things might put people off using the service and lead to fly-tipping.

Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said raising the price of a collection from £15 to £25 and limiting the number of objects collected to eight could prove counter-productive.

“Calderdale is plagued with fly-tipping – this spoils the environment and costs the council thousands to clear up every year.

“We should be making it easier for people to arrange collection of waste, not upping the costs and bringing in complex rules about the numbers of objects that can be collected.”

He was concerned that rather than pay the extra amount some people would be tempted to dispose of their rubbish clandestinely.

“Sadly, there are already some people who would rather sneak out at night and dump their waste down a gunnel or out in the countryside.

“They know they can do this for free and avoid any costs of disposing of their waste.

“When this fee rises to £25 for every eight items then there will be an even greater temptation to avoid the cost of getting bulky waste collected by the council.”

The bulky waste collection service for items such as beds, mattresses, sofas and large electrical goods such as washing machines and microwaves.

But in the four years since the fee was last increased costs associated with bulky collections have continued to rise, says the council.

The limit of eight items has been introduced so crews can better plan their workload, reducing the need for items to be left outside for as long whilst waiting for a collection, says the council, which adds there are also plans to introduce a booked collection day service, making collections more convenient for residents.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden), said the situation would be monitored and reviewed following introduction of the new charges, and service changes would benefit people.

“The rising cost of bulky waste collections has unfortunately meant that we have had to increase the charge for this service.

“The charge hasn’t gone up since 2014, as this is something we’ve resisted up to this point, but further budget pressures have made this rise unavoidable,” she said.

“We will be monitoring and reviewing the situation.

“We have made collections more efficient and have reduced collection waiting times; we’re looking into a booked collection day service; and we’ve introduced more alternatives to bulky collections than ever before.”

Over the past few years the number of alternatives to bulky collections have increased, including the reuse shop at the Brighouse Household Waste Recycling Centre for good quality items which can be recycled.

Coun Press said residents can also use any of the Household Waste Recycling Centres across the borough to get rid of bulky waste themselves.

And since the introduction of the new waste contract in 2016, the council collected a much wider variety of items for recycling each week, including smaller electrical items, she said.

Coun Baker said latest figures released by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs reported that in 2016-17 there were 1,912 reported cases of fly-tipping in Calderdale, but the council had not issued a single fixed penalty notice and only took five people to court to receive fines.

The council has admitted it needs to do better and Cabinet this week announced a step-up of enforcement.