GMB, the union for recycling and refuse workers, has called for Essex County Council to reverse a move to ban vans and trucks from eleven recycling sites to avoid increased abuse for recycling staff.
The council announced today that from the 31st October half of the county’s recycling sites will also no longer allow vans or multi-axle trailers entrance and will no longer offer any disposal facilities for DIY and construction waste.
In a letter to councillors, regional GMB organiser Dave Powell said that added difficulty when recycling, an increase in fly tipping and added congestion at sites that allowed larger vehicles were likely to lead to increased complaints from the public.
Councillor Simon Walsh Cabinet Member for Waste and Environment – “These operational changes will stop people unlawfully disposing of business and trade waste at recycling centres at the expense of the taxpayer, whilst still providing the facility for residents to dispose of their legitimate DIY waste when carrying out ad-hoc work at home themselves.”
Dave Powell, GMB regional organiser, said: “The county council are rightly concerned regarding trade waste being taken into recycling centres. Although we understand the problem the county council are trying to resolve, we do not believe that this is the answer.
GMB believes it would make more sense to develop four sites across the County that can be licensed to accept trade waste at a cost to the trader, as has been done in other counties.”
Waste from Essex businesses which has been illegally left at recycling centres has left taxpayers with a disposal bill running to hundreds of thousands of pounds, the council says.
“Man with a van” operators offering cheap waste clearance, property developers and independent building and home improvement trades have swamped many sites. Local facilities have seen the amount of DIY and construction waste alone leap by over 50% in the last two years.
Following the intended closures, the remaining sites will still offer access to residents who only have access to a commercial vehicle, but will place strict limits on how much DIY waste can be disposed of. Vans and pick-ups will be under greater scrutiny though, and those identified as bringing in waste from any kind of business activity will be refused entry and owners may be liable to prosecution.
Councillor Simon Walsh Cabinet Member for Waste and Environment said: “The taxpayer cannot continue to pick up the bill for businesses which don’t dispose of their waste properly. These operational changes will stop people unlawfully disposing of business and trade waste at recycling centres at the expense of the taxpayer, whilst still providing the facility for residents to dispose of their legitimate DIY waste when carrying out ad-hoc work at home themselves.”