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Councils can legitimately charge residents to deposit DIY waste at their HWRCs

This is because it is no longer classified as household waste

The government’s Litter Strategy is muddled and contradictory on this matter

e-mail to Andrea Leadsom MP Sec of State at DEFRA 

Definition of “household waste”

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 S75 defined “household waste” as waste from a domestic property , a caravan, a residential home, a university, a  schools or a hospitals.

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012  amended this by saying that:

.. notwithstanding the place where it is produced… waste from construction or demolition works, including preparatory works …. must be treated for the purposes of Part 2 of the EPA  … as  industrial waste. See Schedule 1 subsection 3 item 9.

[There is one exception where it is still regarded as household waste. That is for the purpose of the EPA S34 (2) and (2A) duty of the householder to transfer it to an authorised person.]

The important thing is that no exception was made for DIY waste. It is no longer therefore household waste for the purposes of EPA S51.

Provision and charging of residents for HWRC’s

Under EPA S51  it shall be the duty of each waste disposal authority to arrange … for places to be provided at which persons resident in its area may deposit their household waste … (1) (b).

They must be reasonably accessible to persons resident in its area (2) (a), open at reasonable times including  Saturday and available free of charge by persons resident in the area (2) (c)

Many councils charge residents for leaving DIY  waste or ration the amount they can leave. Charges are not normally made for other domestic waste.

Bizarrely the two years ago the government  brought in the Local Authorities (Prohibition of Charging Residents to Deposit Household Waste) Order 2015  which banned local authorities from charging persons resident in its area to enter or deposit household waste at an HWRC .  Councils who were doing this were given until April 2020 to cease charging.

However as “household waste” no longer includes  DIY waste, this has had little effect.

Government’s new Litter Strategy

On page 20 of the Litter Strategy for England it says in reference to HWRCs:

The Government’s view is clear: DIY waste is classed as household waste if it results from work a householder would normally carry out. A number of local authorities have introduced additional charges for the deposit of waste which local authorities categorise as ‘waste other than household waste’.

This view is, as we have seen, at odds with the legislation.

On P21 they go on to say :

Through WRAP, we have provided guidance to local authorities on how they can resolve practical issues associated with adapting HWRCs and ensure that charging is fair, easy to understand and transparent to business and local householders

The WRAP Guidance on HWRCs  includes the following table showing that councils can indeed charge for DIY materials. They are also therefore at odds with the advice they have provided to councils.

 

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Peter Silverman
2nd May 2017

 

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