Wisbech Household Waste

Parish Council made representation to Cambridgeshire County Council regarding the E-permit system at the Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) and the use of Wisbech HRC site by Norfolk residents.

We received this response.

‘To provide some background Household Recycling Centres are funded by Council Tax receipts and Cambridgeshire County Council only has a legal requirement to provide HRC sites for its residents. Part of Norfolk resident’s Council Tax payments go to Norfolk County Council to provide services, including Household Recycling Centres for residents in their areas to use.

Accepting that some Norfolk residents live closer to the Wisbech HRC site than sites provided by Norfolk County Council, but as sites are funded by Council Tax contributions, residents should be using Norfolk sites that they contribute towards. Our councillors do not think that Cambridgeshire taxpayers should be meeting the cost of disposing of waste from neighbouring counties’ residents when we have no statutory duty to do so and our limited budgets are under pressure from increased Upwell demand from our own residents. In addition continued cross-border access to our sites will require us to make significant investment in additional infrastructure to cope with rising demand.

Cambridgeshire County Council introduced a permit scheme at its Household Recycling Centres in October of this year, and for the above reasons permits are not issued to people living outside of Cambridgeshire. Part of the reason for introducing the permit scheme is an increasing number of residents from surrounding areas using Cambridgeshire HRC sites to avoid controls that have been introduced at sites where they live. This has led to increased costs, congestion & in some cases pressure on site capacity. The Council decided that it needed to address these issues and the permit scheme was the option chosen by councillors, which for reasons given above does not allow applications from out of County residents.

We recognise that there is WRAP guidance here and that this makes some suggestions for making arrangements for waste that may come into sites from neighbouring authorities so that residents can use each other’s facilities. There is however no obligation on local authorities to adopt the approaches outlined in the WRAP guidance and it is for the local authority to deliver a service in response to their local circumstance. Nevertheless, we are in regular contact with Norfolk County Council and may revisit the option of a cross-border arrangement. In the meantime we regret we will not be able to provide Norfolk residents with access to our sites.

In terms of fly tipping most areas where similar schemes have been introduced have seen no significant increase in fly-tipping. I would however suggest you contact the local district council to report any such incidents. If reported the Enforcement Officers will be able to see if there is any evidence to direct them to those responsible. Fly-tipping is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court.’

We understand that this matter is awaiting a decision from Secretary of State and we shall advise on this as soon as we can.