This weekend, environment Minister Andrea Leadsom criticised the charges that have been introduced at the recycling centres here in Surrey. Her comments will form part of the Governments litter strategy that was finally published this morning.
Andrea Leadsom, the Environment Secretary blamed the charges for incentivising fly-tipping and said it was punishing responsible households. She said: “Charging local residents for doing the responsible thing and taking their household waste to the tip is not only unfair and unacceptable, but could be a lead factor in the reported increases in fly-tipping."
The report details that “There are a number of reasons why fly-tipping occurs, including wanting to avoid the cost of proper waste disposal and the limited availability of legal sites to dispose of material.”
The guidance goes on to say they will stop councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites (rubbish dumps) – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites.
In September 2016, Tory run Surrey County Council introduced charges for household DIY waste, and also reduced the opening hours at the recycling facilities here in Caterham and Warlingham. They also reduced the number of sites residents were able to take this type of waste to.
At the time Liberal Democrat Councillors including John Orrick criticised the decision and questioned the legality of the charges. Chris Botten, Lib Dem County Council candidate for Caterham Hill says “We now see that the Tory run Council should have listened to us. We were right to be speaking up for the residents in our area. This was a shameful move that has blighted our countryside with rubbish. The Tories at Surrey County Council cannot even be trusted to follow the law.”
David Lee, Lib Dem County Council candidate for Caterham Valley says "I never thought I would see the day that I agree with something Andrea Leadsom says. Fly tipping is an increasing problem here in Tandridge. Tonnage was down, but incidents were up in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of charges with 107 fly tips in September alone.”
Charles Lister, Lib Dem County Council Candidate for Warlingham and Tatsfield says, "We have been blighted by this problem in Warlingham, with several fly tips recently reported. David Hodge represents this area, so you think he would see the impact his tip tax is having on our area."
Charles goes on to say "Now that the government are clear that these charges are wrong, I'm calling for Sam Gyimah to join the Liberal Democrat opposition here in Surrey and demand these charges are abolished. I know he doesn't like to speak out on things that are important to our residents unless he is told he is allowed to. Andrea Leadsom has now given him the green light to call for the scrapping of these charges."