Council Gets Tough On Waste Collection Payment Avoiders
18th June 2012
Council targeting holiday homes that are avoiding payment for their waste collection services.
Back in February this year, The Highland Council wrote to the owners of around 1,650 non-domestic rated (NDR) holiday home properties advising them of their legal obligations under the Environmental Protection Act and associated Duty of Care Regulations to have in place a waste collection contract for dealing with the waste generated from their businesses. It advised that if there was no response to the letter by early March then the collection service would cease.
Just over half of the owners responded to the letter. After giving a further two months for replies to come in, the Council will now be stopping the service to those properties where no response has been received. Stickers with the text "'The Highland Council has not emptied your bin because our records show you do not have a current commercial waste collection contract with us'. 'no contract, no uplift' will be attached to any bins presented for collection that do not have a current collection contract in place.
All NDR premises require to pay for their waste collection service and to have in place what is known as a "waste transfer note" specifying what waste they produce; which registered waste carrier collects that waste and which licenced waste disposal / treatment facility is used for the disposal/treatment of the waste. Failure to have this documentation in place is a breach of the Regulations.
The Council on its part has a duty to have such documentation in place if it is collecting commercial waste from any premise. It is also tasked with recovering the costs of any commercial waste collection service that it provides.
A Council spokesperson said: "It has to be recognised that these businesses are committing a criminal offence.
They are also avoiding paying for their collection service and these costs are being borne by the tax payer. I am sure that taxpayers and those businesses which are meeting their legal obligations and are paying for their collection service would expect the Council to take a firm stance against these businesses. The annual cost for servicing 1 x 240litre residual bin and 1 x 240litre recycling bin on an alternate weekly collection basis averages out at £2.74 per week and most holiday homes charge several hundred pounds per week."
The same action will be taken with the NDR properties in Inverness and Sutherland areas later this year and for any commercial businesses throughout the Highlands who are found to be illegally obtaining a collection service from the Council or are illegally disposing of their commercial waste in the litterbins or at the recycling centres.
FOLLOWING the COSLA Leaders meeting last Friday, the Leader of Highland Council has warned staff that Local Government could be facing a cash reduction in its Grant of 4-5% for 2016-17. Current assumptions for the budget were based on a cut of 1.6% and a 4 or 5% cut would be a significantly worse position.
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