Councils could face legal proceedings over DIY waste charges
In October the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced it was considering legal action against local authorities across England that have introduced household recycling centre charges for residents who want to dispose of DIY waste.
In recent months, more than 10 English councils have announced the introduction of fees for residents disposing of household DIY and construction waste, including soil and plasterboard, at council-operated recycling sites.
The issue has created controversy as residents have argued that the disposal of such waste should be free as part of a council’s residential waste and recycling services. However, local authorities have argued that their waste budgets do not cover the costs involved in recycling and disposing of household DIY waste.
Hampshire County Council has recently introduced a fee system across their recycling sites, and councillors from Derbyshire County Council are in discussions regarding whether such charges should be brought in there.
However, following the announcement from DCLG, these two councils are asking the government for more clarity around this issue, before anymore changes are implemented.
The DCLG says that DIY waste generated by residents should be free to dispose of at recycling sites in accordance with legislation and policy.
A DCLG spokesperson commented: “We are determined to boost recycling, and that is why we have brought in legislation to stop councils charging residents for household waste. Guidance is clear that it should include any household waste from DIY.”
Nick Churchward, law firm partner at Burges Salmon, has now joined the argument. Speaking to Materials Recycling World (MRW) magazine, Mr Churchward offered his support to councils, claiming that the regulation surrounding HWRC policy is open to interpretation and that councils are not operating outside the policy, which he said is not a statutory law.
Councillor Rob Humby, from Hampshire County Council, said: “It certainly could end up in a legal battle. We hope we don’t get there, and come to a resolution.”
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