Councils accused of introducing a ‘backdoor rubbish tax’

Councils accused of introducing a ‘backdoor rubbish tax’

Almost 50 local authorities are now charging council tax payers up to £20 for every item they throw away at the tip in a new ‘backdoor tax’ sweeping the country. 

Buckinghamshire County Council has just published a price list for householders demanding a minimum of £2.50 for small items such as a toilet seat, bathroom tap, a single plank of wood or a pane of glass.     

It is £10 to dispose of a door or a domestic water tank – while a shed costs £17.50 and an old boiler costs £20 to take to the tip.

Builders, tradesman and businesses used to be the only people charged at refuse dumps but there is a clear and growing trend to make householders who already pay an average of £1,750-a-year in council tax to cough up more cash.

Approaching 50 councils are also charging residents to dispose of household rubbish, including Britain’s most populated local authority Kent County Council, who from last month started making people pay to dump bathroom items, bricks, plasterboard and soil. 

Many of the charges appear to be targeting DIY enthusiasts improving their homes by replacing their kitchens, bathrooms or revamping their gardens. 

Staff at Brent Council’s main dump weigh cars as they arrive and charged £16 per 100kg of non-recyclable rubbish while Lewisham, Torbay and Darlington councils turn away anyone with DIY waste. 

Ministers are now going to launch a review into fees charged on householders for dumping waste at council tips and there are concerns fly-tipping could increase. 

Buckinghamshire County Council’s price list was imposed this month charging residents already paying council tax between £2.50 and £20 to use the tip

Local authorities are charging householders to dump rubbish in council facilities which is being described by some ministers as a ‘backdoor’ tax

Councils charging taxpayers to take their household waste to the tip (or banning common items)

Blackpool: £12.50 permit for non-household waste

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: From £5 per item

Bracknell Forest: From £3 per item

Bradford: Up to £125 for large items such as a boat or canoe

Brent Council: £16 per 100kg of non-recyclable waste

Bristol: One bootload of DIY waste per household per week. Anything larger than this limit is classed as industrial waste,

Buckinghamshire: Between £2,50 and £20 per item

Calderdale: £2.50 per bag of hardcore, brick and rubble

Cheshire East: From £3.50 per item

Cornwall: Between £2.30 and £10

City of York: Ban on printer cartridges and tyres

Darlington: Ban on household fittings and construction waste

Dever: £3.90 for bathroom items such as a shower fitting or screen

Dorset: £1.50 per bag for soil

Ealing: £23 per 100kg of DIY waste

East Sussex: £2 for some items

Hampshire: Kitchen and bathroom fittings could be charged for

Hartlepool: £3 per ceramic item

Hillingdon: £197 per ton for DIY waste even if residential waste

Kent: DIY waste charged for and £4 to dispose of bags of soil or rubble 

Leeds: Items from £1.50 including rubble, hardcore and soil, and plasterboard

Lewisham: No DIY waste

Leicestershire: From £3 for roof tiles and slabs

North Lincolnshire: From £4 for garden waste such as soil

Nottingham: £3 + VAT per bag 25kg of rubble, tiles, concrete  

Norfolk: £3 for wood 

North Tyneside: £2 for a bag of loose material or a sheet of plasterboard 

Oxfordshire: From £1.50 for items such as a radiator

Southampton: £2.50 for a bag of soil or rubble

South Gloucestershire: Charges apply when dropping off more than six bags of DIY waste 

Staffordshire: £3 per bag of bricks or gravel

Stockton-on-Tees: Annual £20 permit for DIY waste

Stoke: £3 for a roll of turf or other garden waste

Suffolk: Charges for a variety items such as £2  per toilet

Surrey: £5 per tile, paving slab or £4 for a concrete fence post

Swindon: From £2.80 for some items sheet

Torbay: DIY waste banned 

Warrington: Bricks, tiles, kitchen units and other DIY waste not accepted

West Berkshire: Charges for bathroom fittings , rubble at £2.50 and tyres for £5

Allison Ogden-Newton, the chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘While we know local authorities have difficult choices to make in the face of diminishing resources, we know that if you make it easy for people to do the right thing they are more likely to do so.

‘Helping people to legally dispose of their rubbish will reduce rather than encourage fly-tipping.

‘We want to see the Government use some of the £1billion of landfill tax to subsidise recycling infrastructure.

‘This would ensure local authorities don’t have to close or restrict the use of household waste recycling centres which, in turn, will avoid future fly-tipping costs.’

The move comes after it was revealed that one local authority even charges residents £20 to dispose of old toilet seats.

Nearly 50 local authorities now insist on arbitrary fees to get rid of waste, including Buckinghamshire council – which has released a new ‘price list’ demanding up to £20 for single items such as fence-posts, plasterboards and taps.

Last month, gardeners in Kent were made to pay £4 to dispose of bags of soil or rubble, and households in Devon are now being charged £3.90 to dump shower trays and tyres.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) described the charges as a ‘backdoor’ tax, saying that homeowners should be permitted to dump waste from building work free of charge.

It plans to launch a review that could see the 47 councils banned from imposing the fees. Campaigners say the payments will cause a spike in fly-tipping, despite councils insisting they are under no obligation to accept ‘non-household waste’.

According to the latest Government statistics, there was a 43 per cent spike in multi-load fly-tipping incidents between 2016-17 and 2017-18, with clean-up costs rising from £9.9million to £12.2million.

An investigation found that some councils charge residents to dump waste where neighbouring ones are letting them do it free of charge. Medway Council in Kent reportedly considered banning people from its rubbish tips and demanding visitors show proof of address after the region’s county council imposed fees on nearby areas.

Councils such as Blackpool and Stockport have introduced fees of up to £20, whereas Norfolk County Council demands £5 for every single dustbin-sized bag.

Just last week, ambulance crews in Kent were delayed in reaching an elderly man who had collapsed because they were twice forced to stop to clear piles of rubbish from the road. Kent increased its budget for tackling fly-tipping to £4million before it introduced the new dumping charges, prompting critics to claim the council knew the fees would cause an increase in littering.

Robin Edwards, of the Country Land and Business Association, said: ‘In many parts of Kent, the number of fly-tipping cases is rising. It would be very disappointing if the numbers were to grow bigger as a result of these fees.’

A Defra spokesman said last night: ‘We have been clear that disposing of household waste, including waste from DIY home improvement projects, should be free of charge. That is why we are planning to review current rules. Where local authorities do charge people to get rid of non-household items at household waste recycling centres, they must make sure charges are proportionate and clear to understand.’

Meanwhile, waste collectors for South Gloucestershire plan to start searching public bins to check if people are throwing away rubbish that should have gone into their own household refuse. Anyone doing this could face a £200 fine.

Ministers fear the increased charges will increase the amount of illegal dumping 

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