Agenda item


Members gave consideration to a report regarding a review of the current charge for bulky waste collections and seeking to understand the potential impact of free or reduced price collections on incidents of fly-tipping. The Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services explained that Officers had been asked to look at whether changing the charging regime for bulky waste would help reduce levels of fly tipping. He summarised that the report considered why a charge was originally introduced a number of years ago, including the introduction of a user pays ethos and supporting local charities. These reasons were still valid when considering whether to reintroduce free or subsidised collections, however it was increasingly necessary to consider the negative environmental impacts, including additional fleet required, mileage travelled but also a reduction in reuse and recycling within the district.


It was explained that the report looked at both the local and national context, with the vast majority of authorities charging for the service and most locally charging on a par with West Lindsey. It was highlighted that Lincoln City provided free bulky waste collections to pensioners, those entitled to benefit payments and those people with disabilities, however no one outside of those groups could access bulky waste collection services, either free or paid for.


Further detail within the report highlighted levels of flytipping, particularly the dramatic rise last year, which was in line with national trends. In addition, a 2019 BBC report summarised at appendix 1 found no link between flytipping and charging for waste services. Members were informed that, within the BBC report, there was a case study in which one authority reverted to free bulky waste collections but did not benefit from a reduction in flytipping.


With regard to the options set out by Officers, it was explained to the Committee that it was difficult to see any benefit to offering a reduction in cost or making collections free, other than it being popular with residents. Environmentally, there were no benefits as it would mean people would dispose of more material, more miles would be travelled by more vehicles and there would be an impact on charitable organisations. Financially, any increase in demand would probably result in needing another vehicle and staff. It would mean a move away from the ‘user pays’ ethos and would lose income. Introducing free or subsidised collections was not considered to fit in with the environmental aspirations of either the council or Lincolnshire Waste Partnership. For these reasons, it was suggested to the Committee that the best option was to continue with the current charging regime including an in year inflationary rise.


Members were appreciative of the work undertaken by Officers and supported the ethos of encouraging reusing and recycling. It was noted that the origin of the report had been to ascertain any link between the cost of bulky waste collections and rates of flytipping, the evidence presented demonstrated there was no link. With this summary, the recommendation was moved and seconded and it was unanimously


RESOLVED that option four of the report (to continue with the current pricing schedule, plus inflation, for bulky waste collections) be recommended to the Corporate Policy & Resources Committee for approval.

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