Thousands of people are abusing tips in Stevenage and North Herts for commercial gain, says councillor

Councillor Richard Thake spoke about the problem during a visit to Stevenage tip last week.

Councillor Richard Thake spoke about the problem during a visit to Stevenage tip last week. - Credit: Archant

Businesses who illegally use tips in Stevenage and North Herts to dump commercial waste are on borrowed time, according to a county councillor.

Thousands of people are believed to be abusing a free scheme run by Herts County Council, costing taxpayers and the environment dearly.

Councillor Richard Thake, who is responsible for environment at County Hall, said: “I do not want to stop genuine residents for using a service which we need to provide so it will take some thought, but we have got to address it because it is getting unmanageable.”

The van and trailer permit scheme allows people driving commercial vehicles to use the council’s tips free of charge up to 12 times a year.

It was created to give private individuals the chance to bring a big load of household waste, and the council estimated that around 4,500 people would sign up.

But more than 16,500 permits have been issued and Mr Thake believes thousands of those people are traders who should be paying to dispose of their waste but are pulling a fast one.

He said: “There is abuse going on by commercial operators. These people are coming in and taking up a service that is for residents.

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“It is putting a cost they should pay themselves on the public purse and it is costing the taxpayer dearly.”

This extra cost adds to the strain on to a service which is having £750,000 cut from its budget every year.

Mr Thake doesn’t want to take the permit system away but is planning on working with other agencies, including the police and district authorities, to target offenders.

He added: “It has got to stop. It is costing the ratepayers of this county serious money.”

On a brighter note, there has been no increase in fly-tipping in the county since reduced opening hours were introduced earlier this year, despite warnings from opponents of the cutbacks.

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