Councillors back plans to charge for non-household waste at tips
PUBLISHED: 09:20 24 January 2019
County councillors have endorsed plans to charge for non-household waste at tips despite 85per cent of residents disagreeing with the idea.
Members of Kent County Council’s environment and transport cabinet committee signalled their support for the introduction of fees at household waste and recycling centres for rubble and soil, voting in favour by 9-2.
Five others attending the meeting abstained.
KCC runs 18 tips across the county, which collect around 185,000 tonnes of waste, costing about £10million to the taxpayer.
In a bid to save money, KCC plans to charge £4 per bag for soil, rubble and hardcore and £6 per bag of plasterboard. This goes against the views of residents on the consultation as about 2,300 people disagreed with the plans due to fear of increased fly-tipping.
A survey of local authorities that already charge for this waste found there had been no impact on fly-tipping.
Despite being on the cross-party working group that endorsed the idea, Cllr Barry Lewis (Lab) says he was convinced by his constituents to vote against the plans.
He said: “I’m a democrat. I don’t always toe the party line.
“I will support my residents because they have been able to change my mind.
“I think as politicians we should be able to change our minds and not just follow the party whip.”
Representative of the Green Party, Cllr Martin Whybrow, said while he would not like to charge for this in an “ideal world”, the council needs the money.
He said: “We have done a public consultation that has been very well responded to and there was a very clear consensus with a very clear message back from residents.
“Although I am torn, overall we should be supporting this.
“I am always very reluctant to go against such a clear message from a consultation but the message was very much that fly-tipping was the concern.
“I think that when we do look at experts... we probably should be reassured and support this motion.”
Since KCC introduced charges for tyres in 2012, there has not been a hike in people dumping waste.
A final decision is due to be made no later than February 5.