Hospitals, care homes and universities in Staffordshire could be charged for waste disposal for the first time under plans intended to save Staffordshire county council £100,000 a year.
The council has decided to pass on the cost of disposing of waste collected from these premises to its eight waste collection authorities, who can then choose whether to pass the cost onto customers. The changes apply from April 1, 2015 and were formally agreed last month.
Councils were given the power to charge for waste disposal from a wider range of premises when changes to the Controlled Waste Regulations came into force in April 2012 (see letsrecycle.com story). However, Staffordshire delayed putting these changes into action as the government said it would further consider the changes within two years, a period which has now passed.
The types of properties for which a levy for disposal can be made include: Hospitals, charities (excluding donations from households); nursing homes; schools, universities; colleges, prisons, self-catering accommodation, hospitals and caravan/camp sites.
However, there are two exemptions. Schools which received free waste disposal before the regulations came into effect can continue to receive free waste disposal. Staffordshire noted that this was the case with the “majority” of schools in the county.
In addition, small business who previously enjoyed free disposal and were in receipt of small business rate relief would continue to receive the free service.
The move comes after Staffordshire looked at other waste disposal authorities who have already enacted the power, such as Shropshire and Devon county council, where it was found that the charges brought about no noticeable increase in flytipping.
Commenting on the move, Staffordshire county council environment leader Mark Winnington said: “As a result of the change in legislation in 2012, the county council can recoup the cost of disposal for waste collected by our district and borough councils from organisations that include colleges, care homes and prisons.
“By introducing these charges we would look to reduce disposal costs by £100,000 across the county – a cost currently met by the taxpayer. We have been working closely with our district and borough councils which collect waste, to enable them to communicate with customers to ensure minimal impact.”