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Leaflets handed out to users arriving at the recycling centre in Fort William triggered a backlash with fears that the new vehicle restrictions might encourage fly-tipping of waste.
From February 3, Highland Council will introduce changes at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), including the one in Fort William’s Ben Nevis Way.
These changes will be introduced in two phases, with the first focusing on the vehicle restrictions which will commence on February 3. Phase two will place restrictions on the amount of construction and demolition waste permitted into the sites and will be implemented later in the year.
The measures were agreed by the council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee in August to help the local authority deliver savings of around £300,000 over two years.
Carron McDiarmid, executive chief officer communities and place, said: ‘In Highland we manage 22 per cent more waste per person than the Scottish average. In addition, the recycling centres have experienced a 50 per cent increase in waste in the past decade, costing up to £2.4 million in handling and treatment costs.
‘Restrictions already apply at HWRC regarding the disposal of commercial waste and the introduction of the new restrictions aims to maximise the availability of facilities to householders while preventing commercial misuse.’
From February 3, the following vehicles will not be permitted entry to HWRC with waste: Trailers with more than one axle or greater than 2.4 metres (eight feet) in length; vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes or greater; tippers and flatbed trucks of any weight and plant vehicles.
Responding to the criticism on social media, Councillor Allan Henderson (Caol and Mallaig), who chairs the council’s Communities and Place Committee which oversees its waste operation, said the restrictions were simply a tidying up of general waste and recycling.
‘This is a highlighting of the policy passed by councillors, after a lot of general consultation, in mid 2019,’ Mr Henderson said.
‘The main aim was not to affect domestic users while separating commercial waste from domestic. People using the centre in the way it was designed will not be affected and are, in fact, encouraged to use the centre to increase recycling.
‘I do, however, need to get more clarity on the double axle trailer as clearly some double axles used by domestic users are under 2.4m.
‘We are fortunate in Lochaber that there are commercial options open to the trade.’