Petition call over council's 'costly bulky waste collection service that encourages fly-tipping'

Fly-tipping next to bins in Stevenage

Fly-tipping is an increasing problem in Stevenage, particularly next to full bins. Under Stevenage Borough Council's bulky waste collection service, three full bin bags is classed as one item - Credit: Archant

'Unreasonably high' charges for a council's service to collect bulky household waste items is contributing to a town's fly-tipping problem, it has been asserted, with a petition mooted to put pressure on the local authority to lower the cost.

Since February 1, Stevenage Borough Council has been charging residents £75 for the collection of up to six bulky waste items, such as cookers, carpets, mattresses, sofas and fridges.

Shocked at the cost, resident Paul Sear has researched other councils and says all the ones he checked offer a comparatively cheaper service. For instance, North Hertfordshire District Council charges £45 for the collection of up to six items, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council charges £36.50 for up to four items, and in Basildon - a New Town like Stevenage - it costs £10.25 for the collection of up to five items.

Even in the London boroughs researched, the cost is significantly less than in Stevenage, with Kensington and Chelsea charging £33.30 for up to 10 items and Camden £25 for up to five items.

Paul said: "I was shocked by what I found. Stevenage residents are getting a rubbish deal - I failed to find a single authority that charges more than Stevenage.

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"If you have just one item to get rid of, it still costs £75. The pandemic has hit people financially, so this one-fee price will encourage fly-tipping.

"To see what public feeling is, I posted details on Facebook and the general response was one of outrage."

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One person suggested a petition to pressure the council into lowering the "unreasonably high" charge, while another said it "must surely be cheaper to offer free collection than to clear up fly-tipping".

Paul said: "With more and more people de-cluttering their homes while in lockdown, surely it's time Stevenage Borough Council offered a fairer deal."

The issue has been raised with the council and, in an email seen by the Comet, SBC says the charge "compares reasonably well" to other councils, but does fall down in terms of flexibility, in that it is one cost whether the collection is of one or six items. It says the service just covers its costs, but a report is being prepared for consideration regarding charging going forward.

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