Scrutiny councillors at Lincolnshire County Council have blamed the closure of the county’s tips (Household Waste Recycling Centres) and the introduction of a booking system for an increase in fly-tipping — despite authority officers insisting the evidence does not show it.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday voted in favour of ending the booking system once social distancing measures end, with a final decision due on the process by the executive member for waste between July 19-23 and a “nominal” end date of September 1.
As part of the move, residents with larger vehicles and vans as well as trailers could be asked to sign up to an annual registration in a bid to combat commercial businesses abusing the sites.
Councillor Martin Griggs said fly-tipping over the pandemic had “tripled” in Boston.
“Now some of that is down to people generally being lazy and some will fly-tip regardless of what we do, but for some of it I completely believe we’ve made it too difficult for people to dispose of their rubbish, and that cost has to be met using a Lincolnshire pound.
“Surely it’s incumbent on us to provide a facility that people are able to access and use whenever they please,” he said.
He was backed by fellow Boston Councillor Alison Austin, who said there had been an “apparent plague of fly-tipping” in the town.
A report before the councillors said there was “no evidence to connect the two issues” but acknowledged “the public perception still continues.”
In a separate agenda item on the council’s performance on waste, members were also told that new initiatives to tackle fly-tipping were being worked on, including community groups, education, and looking at how it could be included in crime prevention publicity.
Councillors were told that there had been a decrease in the amount of waste going to the tips (HWRCs), but that around three quarters of the waste was still being recycled.
However, household waste which was collected by the council was well below target and has been for a number of years, something Councillor Ashley Baxter said was “woefully inadequate”.
“Our recycling is still falling, while the need to recycle is still growing very quickly, and on top of that it’s not just that we’re not recycling as much, we’re down now I think to 43% compared to 50%, almost 10 years ago.”
He, along with others called for better ways to educate people on recycling more.
Officers said low recycling rates were a national issue and added there was some confusion but agreed there was a need for better information.
During the household waste recycling centre discussion, further queries were raised around a proposed registration system for those with larger vehicles, some of whom had been unable to use the tip due to concerns over commercial businesses abusing the system instead of paying for an approved collection of their waste.
It is hoped residents will be able to sign up to the register for free on an annual basis enabling their vehicle registrations to be checked and their use of the site tracked to ensure adequate use.
There was a suggestion ANPR cameras could be used as part of the process.
The current cost of the tip booking system is around £9,000 a month and has been running since May 11, 2020 at a total cost of over £126,000 so far.
It has a limited number of slots, and has failed occasionally over the past 12 months, said reports.
There had also been a “significant decrease” in the amount of waste accepted during the pandemic operations, with just 24,558 tonnes collected last year, compared to 71,450 the year prior. Between 12-15% of slots had resulted in no-shows.