A Liberal Democrat county councillor in Surrey has received an astonishing letter from the government suggesting that residents can take Conservative-run Surrey County Council to the High Court over its unpopular Tory Tip Tax.
The letter was sent from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Highways & the Environment, after he wrote to the government outlining his concerns over the legality of recent charges for waste disposal introduced by the council.
The letter states "An interested person, such as one of the council's residents, can apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the legality of the decision to charge residents for a type of waste if he or she is of the view that it is "household" and should be disposed of for free".
In September, Surrey County Council started charging residents for taking waste to its Community Recycling Centres, including waste from DIY. But government policy states that councils should not charge for this kind of waste as it is considered household waste, and that they should be able to dispose of this kind of waste for free.
Cllr Cooksey said today:
"This is a poor response from the government, who should be enforcing the law rather than expecting residents to do it themselves. Rather than suggesting residents go to court, the government should be telling the county council to drop these charges immediately. I shall shortly be writing to government ministers at DCLG asking them to do just that.
"In their letter, the government clearly state that charges should not extend to disposing of household waste from DIY but that is exactly what the Tory County Council is doing. Liberal Democrats in Surrey have consistently opposed these unfair charges and will continue to do so until they are dropped".