Businesses braced for tough new waste disposal measures

© DC Thomson
Drivers of larger vehicles will have to show a permit at Fife's waste recycling centres

Stringent new measures designed to stop the illegal disposal of commercial waste at recycling centres across Fife will be rolled out in the new year.

Business operators who plan to continue getting rid of their rubbish at household waste recycling centres without paying for a relevant recycling permit have been warned they will be caught, as staff are given a range of new tactics to tackle the issue.

Anyone visiting their local tip after this weekend’s festivities should expect to see height barriers installed at all of the region’s 11 household waste recycling centres, with any vehicle over 1.9 metres high asked to stop at the site entrance until they are greeted by a member of staff and asked to produce a valid permit.

Traders are able to use nine of Fife’s recycling centres through a chargeable recycling ticket scheme but Fife Council has decided to crack down on the misuse of that arrangement after figures suggested the local authority was losing a staggering £1.87 million a year through people flouting the set-up.

Automatic number plate recognition systems will also be installed early in 2018 and a new permit system is also on the way, while in some cases people may also have to complete a household waste declaration form where proof of address will be needed.

Councillor Ross Vettraino, convenor of the council’s environment, protective services and community safety committee, said: “The current misuse of the sites by commercial users creates legal and financial consequences for the council.

“For example, in financial year 2016/17, it cost the council £1.96 million to dispose of the commercial waste, which was deposited at the recycling centres, but only £94,000 of income was generated from the sale of recycling permits, which means that it cost the council tax payers in Fife £1.87 million to subsidise the disposal of commercial waste in that year.

“The council, therefore, simply had to look at ways to eliminate that subsidy, as neighbouring local authorities have done.”

Technology to capture and store the registration numbers of vehicles so the use being made of the sites by any one vehicle can be properly monitored, will be rolled out across the Kingdom within the first few months of 2018.

A new electronic permit system will also be introduced over the next six months, which will enable commercial users to make use of the sites more easily simply by swiping their card.

Mr Vettraino concluded: “The people of Fife have embraced recycling and have kept Fife at the leading edge of recycling in Scotland for many years.

“It is important that they do not foot the bill for those commercial operators, who are illegally making use of the waste disposal service.”