Four Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in Somerset have started charging the public to use the sites. Residents are charged £2 for each visit to Coleford, Dulverton or Middlezoy tips and £1.20 at Crewkerne. The move, introduced jointly by Somerset’s Conservative and LibDem Councils has caused uproar amongst residents and concerns amongst environmental practitioners. In addition to these charges, the Conservative/LibDem councils have intriduced fees at ALL HWRCs for depositing hardcore, tyres, gas bottles and other items not considered to be household waste.
Mike Rigby, Independent candidate in the forthcoming elections in Bishops Lydeard said “It’s yet another example of Conservative-run Somerset County Council and its LibDem allies going further than even central Government in cutting spending and increasing taxes.” Mike, himself a Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, pointed out, “The whole concept of free-to-use HWRCs was introduced in the 1970s in response to widespread fly-tipping, with the loss of amenity, hazard to health and damage to wildlife that it causes. My fear is that we will see a return to those days with mattresses and fridges in laybys and hedges again”.
Even Eric Pickles, the Conservative Communities Secretary in charge of local councils has lambasted Somerset for this policy. “These new tip taxes are utterly counter productive. Charging for using the local dump will create perverse incentives for fly-tipping, harming the local environment and diverting taxpayers’ money to clean up the mess,” he raged.
Mike Rigby continued, “It is to fight such lunacy that I am standing for Bishops Lydeard Parish and Taunton Deane Borough Councils.”