Fees for recycling DIY waste could be scrapped to prevent fly-tipping

ITV News Reporter Rhys Williams explains the new proposals announced to combat the scourge of fly-tipping, which could save consumers up to £10 per individual item

Fees to recycle household DIY waste at council-run sites in England could be scrapped under new government plans to tackle fly-tipping.

It can currently cost around £10 for someone to recycle household DIY waste, which might include bricks or paving slabs, but the government has opened a public consultation to consider whether the service should be free.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said it's "wrong" that around a third of councils are charging to recycle DIY waste.

"We're going to ensure that remains a free service - people have already paid once for their council tax and they shouldn't have to pay a second time," he told ITV News.

Proposals put out for consultation would prevent councils from charging households for disposing of rubbish from their own renovation work, such as old baths and showers, paving slabs and tiles, at waste and recycling centres.

The aim is to reduce waste being put in domestic bins and cut the risk of fly-tipping, littering and burning of rubbish in gardens, which creates additional costs for councils and causes environmental problems.

Last year councils dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents ranging from black bin bags of household waste to white goods, tyres and construction rubbish, while private landowners also face many cases of illegally dumped waste.

Rubbish from construction or demolition works counts as industrial waste, and local authorities charge for its disposal, but despite guidance to the contrary, some councils charge for waste from household DIY work.

Under the plans, DIY work would not include full house renovations and work done by tradespeople, but could include homeowners tiling a kitchen, plumbing in a sink, plastering a room, building and installing shelving, or building a raised bed for a garden.

Rubbish from such activities carried out by householders in their own homes, and which is no more than a car boot-load, would be free to dump at the tip.

Councils that charge householders to dispose of DIY waste will be required to absorb any associated costs of the changes.

The consultation launched by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs is also looking at ending the system of booking timeslots to visit a waste and recycling centre, introduced during the pandemic.

It warns that some booking systems are discouraging use of council waste and recycling centres, causing a risk of increased residual waste and fly-tipping.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, criticised the proposals, saying polling showed eight out of 10 people were happy with the way their local authority collects their rubbish.

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David Renard, environment spokesperson for the LGA, said: “The disposal of non-household waste, such as DIY waste and tyres, is a non-statutory duty.

“As a result, some councils have had to introduce charges for this waste due to the rising costs of providing the service and the financial pressure they are under.

“Money raised from charges goes back into services so councils can continue to offer disposal facilities for these materials to residents, who would otherwise find them difficult to get rid of and will ensure that the system is not abused by those seeking to dispose of trade waste for free.”

He said many councils had continued the booking systems they brought in to deal with staffing pressure and ensure social distancing during the pandemic, as they had found it suits the needs of their area.