1. ITV Report

Cardiff supermarkets could face abandoned trolley charge

Supermarkets in Cardiff could be made to pay a £75 charge for every shopping trolley of theirs found abandoned in the city.

Councillors are meeting today to discuss how to put a stop to the 'several hundred' trolleys dumped across Cardiff each year.

The introduction of the five-pence carrier bag charge last year is cited as one reason why the number of abandoned shopping trolleys has increased.

Cardiff Council says it condemns the theft of trolleys, adding that the proposals are designed to encourage supermarkets to ensure trolleys remain on their premises.

Dumped trolleys are unsightly and bring a run-down feeling to an area, which in turn attracts further litter and fly-tipping as well as encouraging anti-social behaviour. Abandoned shopping trolleys can also harm wildlife and if dumped in a stream or river they can also create a flood hazard. Buying a new shopping trolley can cost anything from £100 to £180, so it is in the retailer's interests to protect their assets, but it remains the case that several hundred are abandoned across Cardiff each year.

– Councillor Ashley Govier, Executive Member for Environment

Legally, shopping trolleys remain the responsibility of the supermarket, and any trolley collected by the Council cannot be sent for recycling or disposal without an individual destruction certificate from the supermarket in question.

Cardiff Council says this makes it difficult to remove abandoned trolleys.

If the Abandoned Shopping Trolley Policy is adopted, the council will be able to charge £75 to the retailer to cover the removal, storage and disposal of each trolley.

But the Welsh Retail Consortium warns that charging supermarkets for stolen and dumped trolleys is akin to 'blaming the victim'.

It’s like saying shops cause shoplifting by having shelves of goods. A trolley can cost a retailer £150 to buy – they don’t want them stolen. It is the people who steal trolleys and dump them who are to blame. Retailers actually have a good record on working with local authorities to prevent theft and recover stolen trolleys. That is usually a more successful approach in those areas where this is a problem than arguing about whose fault it is, or simply trying to pass the bill on to someone else.

– Mark Ross, Director of the Welsh Retail Consortium

Mr Ross pointed out that many supermarkets already have anti-theft devices in place to prevent trolleys being wheeled off the premises.

He added that retailers will usually promptly collect any trolleys reported to have been dumped.

But Cardiff Council believes retailers must take 'greater ownership' of their trolleys.

Councillor Ashley Govier said:

With this policy, we will be working with retailers to ensure they take greater ownership of their trolleys and take action if they don't, thereby improving the visual appearance of an area, reducing waste and litter and its associated anti-social behaviour. We will also work with the stores to explore theft-prevention measures and get the message out that stealing trolleys is unacceptable and illegal.

– Councillor Ashley Govier, Executive Member for Environment