Report of the Cabinet Member for Communities
The Chairman welcomed Councillor Mary Bond of South Staffordshire District Council, who had been invited to attend the meeting in her capacity as Chairman of the Joint Waste Management Board (JWMB), and asked that she share her experience and any lessons learned since the introduction of the charges. Mrs. Bond informed the Committee that initially members of the Board had disagreed with the principle of charging owing to concerns that it would lead to an increase in fly tipping. There had also been a lack of consultation and communication on the proposals, which had resulted in misleading headlines in the local press. It also had not been emphasised that the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) were run by the County Council and consequently the Customer Services Team at South Staffordshire District Council had initially been inundated with complaints. In relation to fly tipping, Mrs. Bond informed the Committee that in May 2016 changes had been made to the way in which these incidents were recorded, and consequently the evidence was inconclusive as to whether there had been an increase. However there was no evidence of an increase in residual waste collections. In summary, earlier consultation and better communication with the refuse collection agencies would have prepared everyone much more effectively.
The Chairman thanked Mrs. Bond for the useful feedback, and agreed that lessons had been learned around clarity and communication. It had been recognised that at first people were not clear about how to pay and what to recycle and that this information had not been sufficiently publicised.
In considering the number of fly tipping incidents by size, it was noted that the number involving a small van or larger amount had increased, whilst those involving a car boot or smaller amount had decreased. Members were informed that large scale fly tipping incidents were most likely to be related to criminal operations on a commercial scale and had no potential link to the charging at the HWRCs. Large scale fly tipping incidents had been rising over the last 2 years. Mrs. Bond was asked for clarification of how incidents of fly tipping were recorded at her District, and responded that previously when a variety of waste was collected it was recorded under the category of the largest component. However, these were now recorded separately under each category of waste involved and consequently could look like an increase in the number of incidents. Looking at the analysis of fly tipping incidents per local authority members commented that most had seen a decrease, apart from Stoke-on-Trent. At worst the situation was static, at best reducing. It was acknowledged that there were a variety of reasons for fly tipping, but particular concern was expressed over operators who deliberately collected waste and then dumped it. Members agreed that they would like to see the criminality of waste management being addressed.
The committee was informed that the Government had committed to reviewing current guidance and to clearly define what can and cannot be charged for ... view the full minutes text for item 76