Somerset rubbish tax

April 11, 2011 3:15 PM

Last week I did my council a favour by removing our own garden refuse and taking it to the local recycling centre. It took several trips, but I thought best to get on with it rather than wait for the fortnightly collection of garden waste. Now, it appears, I could be charged £2 every time I recycle my own rubbish. So, not only have I become an unpaid bin man but I am to be charged for the privilege of doing it as well!

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages recycling and waste services on behalf of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council, are charging an ‘entry fee’ of between £2 and £1.20 for every visit to a recycling dump.

This seems an incredibly short-sighted move. Not only is it a tax on householders doing the right thing and recycling their own waste, it will encourage less responsible people to dump their waste illegally or, in my case, I might as well set up a fire in my back garden and burn it.

Somerset Waste Partnership is aware that charging for a previously free service may well have a dubious legal basis and admitted, last month, the prospect of a potential legal challenge. To get around the statutory prohibition on such charges, they have re-designated the recycling centres as ‘non-statutory (discretionary) sites’ to be termed ‘Community Recycling Sites’. They also admit that the cost of fitting barriers and slot machines will be £2000 per site but say ‘this can be met from the repairs and maintenance budget,’ while the cost of emptying the machines can be met by the same council employees who ‘service car parking metres’

Other councils are looking at Somerset with keen interest to see if they can get away with similar charges for visits to recycling dumps.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says: ‘I urge local residents in Somerset to report their councils to the District Auditor or the Local Government Ombudsman who have powers to block these charges.’

As far I am concerned, I am already paying 9% of my council tax for refuse collection and if I choose to save the council time and money by taking some of that waste to a recycling centre myself, I should get a rebate for each visit—not be charged extra.

Tim Newark, Bath & South-West TaxPayers’ Alliance

Update: The Somerset Waste Partnership have asked us to make it clear that some other recycling sites can be used for free. For more information on recycling services in your area, you can consult your local council website.Last week I did my council a favour by removing our own garden refuse and taking it to the local recycling centre. It took several trips, but I thought best to get on with it rather than wait for the fortnightly collection of garden waste. Now, it appears, I could be charged £2 every time I recycle my own rubbish. So, not only have I become an unpaid bin man but I am to be charged for the privilege of doing it as well!

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages recycling and waste services on behalf of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council, are charging an ‘entry fee’ of between £2 and £1.20 for every visit to a recycling dump.

This seems an incredibly short-sighted move. Not only is it a tax on householders doing the right thing and recycling their own waste, it will encourage less responsible people to dump their waste illegally or, in my case, I might as well set up a fire in my back garden and burn it.

Somerset Waste Partnership is aware that charging for a previously free service may well have a dubious legal basis and admitted, last month, the prospect of a potential legal challenge. To get around the statutory prohibition on such charges, they have re-designated the recycling centres as ‘non-statutory (discretionary) sites’ to be termed ‘Community Recycling Sites’. They also admit that the cost of fitting barriers and slot machines will be £2000 per site but say ‘this can be met from the repairs and maintenance budget,’ while the cost of emptying the machines can be met by the same council employees who ‘service car parking metres’

Other councils are looking at Somerset with keen interest to see if they can get away with similar charges for visits to recycling dumps.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says: ‘I urge local residents in Somerset to report their councils to the District Auditor or the Local Government Ombudsman who have powers to block these charges.’

As far I am concerned, I am already paying 9% of my council tax for refuse collection and if I choose to save the council time and money by taking some of that waste to a recycling centre myself, I should get a rebate for each visit—not be charged extra.

Tim Newark, Bath & South-West TaxPayers’ Alliance

Update: The Somerset Waste Partnership have asked us to make it clear that some other recycling sites can be used for free. For more information on recycling services in your area, you can consult your local council website.

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