If East Sussex Council is to introduce charges at recycling centres, it should be fairer

From: Peter Webb, Glenleigh Park Road, Bexhill

Friday, 5th October 2018, 11:15 am
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 11:19 am

As from Monday, October 1, East Sussex County Council has imposed charges on what is termed “non-household” waste taken to ESCC tips for disposal.

There are five categories of waste for which a charge is now made: soil, hardcore, asbestos, plasterboard and tyres.

I’m writing not so much about the decision to start charging for a service which has, until now, been funded from Council Tax, but the scale of charges and the failure to differentiate between commercial and domestic users.

The amount that the householder is being charged is extraordinary.

Charges are unrelated to weight or volume. £4 per bag or part bag. So even one shovelful of soil costs £4.

Commercial users may well have the machinery, or brute strength, to fill bags to their maximum extent, but the ordinary gardener will be able to manage just a few spadefuls of soil in each bag.

This seems to be a thinly-veiled and cynical attempt at fundraising by ESCC by exploiting a loophole in the law to impose unreasonable charges.

The County Council is not a business but a public body whose purpose is to provide public services for the community.

It should not be profiteering in this way.

The obvious consequence of these unreasonable charges will be an increase in fly-tipping around the county.

This move by our county representatives seems to be blinkered beyond belief.

ESCC will no doubt say they conducted a review, seeking comments from the public, etc. None of that absolves ESCC Cabinet members from their responsibility for an extremely silly decision.