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Cheshire West: Plans for limits on DIY waste taken to tip for free

ByReport2

Jul 10, 2024

New limits on the amount of DIY waste that can be taken trips to the tip in Cheshire West are being proposed.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is launching a consultation on potential changes to Household Waste Recycling Centres in the borough, as it plans to cut costs and increase recycling rates.

Among the proposed changes are limiting the amount of DIY waste that people can take to the tip for free, with householders being charged for larger levels.

It is also planned to tighten the limits on the number of trips residents can make to the tip by counting the number of visits by home address, rather than vehicle.

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The council operates seven HWRCs across the borough, in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Neston, Northwich, Tattenhall and Winsford. Each year, they are visited around 740,000 times and process approximately 40,000 tonnes of household waste and recycling.

'No longer able to meet costs'

Currently, 60 per cent of HWRC waste is recycled or reused, and last year it cost £2.4 million to operate the sites and manage the recyclable waste, and a further £1.3 million to dispose of the non-recyclable waste. The local authority is seeking to increase the level of recycled or reused waste to 70 per cent.

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In a consultation document, the local authority says the amount of DIY waste being brought to the tips has increased by 11 per cent in the past year, with costs of waste disposal rising. It adds: "The council is no longer able to meet these costs."

Householders will still be able to dispose of DIY waste at the tip, arising from small-scale home works. The rubbish should not amount to more than four trip tips in four weeks, and the volume of waste should not be more than two 50-litre rubble bags, or one large bulky item such as a bathtub or shower screen.

Those who wish to dispose of more DIY waste in that time would potentially be charged £3.70 per 50-litre bag or single bulky item, a payment which would be made at HWRCs via a cashless payment system.

Visits would be monitored via automatic number plate recognition, with householders encouraged to pre-register vehicles online for their address.

Exceptions to the charges would be for DIY wood waste, as CWaC aims to "discourage garden fires", and DIY waste suitable for scrap metal recovery.

Frequent visitors

CWaC says a benefit to the change, other than reducing costs, would be to discourage unauthorised use of HWRC sites by tradespeople and people carrying out improvement works at business premises.

The council is also looking to clamp down on the number of frequent visitors – those visiting the tips more than four times in 28 days and/or 12 times in 180 days – bringing in non-household waste. A total of 1,187 vehicles were investigated in 2023/24 compared to 746 in 2022/23, many of which were commercial vehicles.

The new proposed limits would be 24 visits allocated per household per 12-month period. Visits in standard vehicles would count as one visit, ones in a commercial-type vehicle or one towing a large trailer would count as two visits.

Residents could have the opportunity to apply for a single-use permit for additional visits, for example, to use when moving address. No changes would be planned for charity vehicles.

'Modernised service'

Additional changes planned are expanding reuse facilities at the tips and providing extra support to residents in making sure as much waste can go in recycling skips, as at present nearly 30 per cent of waste in the non-recyclable skips could actually be recycled.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, transport and highways, said: “HWRCs are important to the borough; they allow residents to dispose of and recycle items that can’t be collected through the regular kerbside service. We need to make sure that we can provide a modernised service that is easy to use, affordable to operate, and helps the council reach our climate change goals.

“A 10-year Waste Management Strategy was adopted by the council in 2021, aiming to reduce overall waste, increase recycling and provide a cost-effective service.

"Reviewing the way HWRCs work is the next step towards this. We want to hear people’s views on these proposals, and I encourage residents to take part to make sure that the needs of the community are reflected.”

The council adds, in answer to a question whether the changes would result in more people dumping waste: "There is no evidence that the proposals outlined in this consultation would lead to an increase in fly-tipping."

To have your say, visit www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/HWRC-Consultation , email HWRC-Consultation@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or call 0300 123 7026 quoting ‘Household Waste Recycling Centre Consultation’.

Drop-in sessions will be taking place over the next few weeks:

  • Tuesday 16 July, 6-8pm – Chester HWRC
  • Wednesday 17 July, 6-8pm – Ellesmere Port HWRC
  • Thursday 18 July, 6-8pm – Winsford HWRC
  • Monday 22 July, 10am – 12 noon – Tattenhall Library
  • Monday 22 July, 6-8pm – Frodsham Brio Leisure Centre
  • Thursday 25 July, 10am – 12 noon – Neston Library
  • Saturday 27 July, 10am – 12 noon – Ellesmere Port Sports Village
  • Monday 29 July, 6-8pm – Chester HWRC
  • Saturday 3 August, 10am – 12 noon – Northwich Brio Memorial Court
  • Tuesday 6 August, 6-8pm – Winsford HWRC
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