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Fife Council seeking ‘full cost recovery’ from commercial waste disposal

More big changes could be on the way for businesses looking to dispose of their waste at household waste recycling centres.
More big changes could be on the way for businesses looking to dispose of their waste at household waste recycling centres.

Traders face the prospect of new charges to dispose of material at most of Fife’s household waste recycling centres, it has emerged.

Councillors will be asked next week to approve new measures designed to fully recover the cost of disposing trade waste across the region, and comes after moves to address non-payment by commercial users.

Prior to the introduction of stricter controls at the nine recycling centres which cater for commercial organisations earlier this year, Fife Council said it was spending around £2 million per year to handle trade waste.

A cashless payment system is being considered, based on a vehicle’s or trailer’s size and the type and volume of materials being dumped.

The local authority says this would enable customers to calculate the cost of recycling in advance. A standard charge would be introduced at seven of Fife’s recycling centres – Dalgety Bay, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Lochgelly, Methil, Pittenweem and St Andrews.

A reduced rate would be available for customers able to deliver waste directly to the two other landfill sites, at Lochhead near Dunfermline and Lower Melville Wood at Ladybank, as this lowers the need for additional haulage by the council.

The recommendation, which would see changes come into effect on January 1 2019, has been made to members of the environment, protective services and community safety committee who will meet on Thursday.

Committee convener Councillor Ross Vettraino said: “Accepting commercial waste at the council’s household waste recycling centres is currently costing the council tax payers in Fife in excess of £1.5 million per annum.

“Because of the costs of doing so, neighbouring local authorities, including Edinburgh and Dundee, no longer accept commercial waste, but I want Fife Council to continue to assist local businesses.

“If the service is to be continued, however, full costs must be recovered.

“By failing to recover full costs, the council is effectively subsidising some businesses and is distorting competition by enabling those businesses to lower their customer charges, compared with businesses that pay full commercial waste disposal costs.

“The charges that are being recommended to the committee are actual costs and do not include any element of profit.  It should also be noted that there are over a dozen private waste disposal companies operating in Fife, so those who produce commercial waste can ‘shop around’.”

A new recycling ticket for commercial operators became valid in April and control measures, including the installation of height barriers and automatic number plate recognition, also came into force.

However, a report to Thursday’s committee has revealed some users have been trying to circumvent the rules by parking outside the gates and walking on to the site to avoid the new height barriers.

Some users have also switched from a van to a car and a trailer to avoid incurring costs.

The council also proposes to ban pedestrian access from January 1, stop double axle trailers from entering the site unless paid for as part of commercial waste disposal, and introduce traffic control measures at site exits.

Emptying wheelie bins at recycling centre will also be prohibited.

Other options being considered are stopping commercial services altogether at the household recycling centres or retain the status quo, although councillors have been warned that will not help services meet savings targets or tackle current problems.

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