'People power triumphs' as council agrees to change bulky waste collection fees

Fly-tipping next to full 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 are classed as one item - Credit: Archant

'People power has triumphed' and a council is changing its bulky waste collection charges after the Comet highlighted how the comparatively high fees could be contributing to an increasing problem with fly-tipping.

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.

Last week, the Comet reported how resident Paul Sear researched other councils and found the ones he checked offered 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.

The inflexibility of Stevenage's scheme, with the £75 fee still applicable even if only disposing of one or two items, encourages fly-tipping, Paul and other residents said, with one suggesting a petition to put pressure on the council to change the pricing structure.

Stevenage Borough Council has admitted the scheme "falls down" in terms of flexibility and has now announced a pilot scheme of £45 for the collection of up to three bulky items.

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A spokesman for the local authority said: "Following feedback about our charges for bulky waste collections, we’re trialling a new discounted payment option of £45 for up to three items to be collected.

"This doesn’t include electrical items, which need to be part of a collection of four to six items, at the full price.

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"This pilot will commence on March 11."

Paul said: "I am delighted Stevenage Borough Council has applied a little common sense and people power has triumphed. This tiered pricing is much fairer for people of all budgets and will hopefully reduce fly-tipping."

The council says it will be taking feedback from the pilot on board, to help shape the future of the service.

For more information about Stevenage Borough Council's bulky waste collection service, visit stevenage.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/bulky-items-collection

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