Business warns of perils of paying cheap price for waste removal

Flyers on the new restrictions have been hand out recently to users of the recycling centre in Fort William (pictured). Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO-F03-FW-RECYCLING-CENTRE-02.jpg
Lochaber has two Household Waste Recycling Centres, Fort William (pictured) and another in Kilchoan. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO-F03-FW-RECYCLING-CENTRE-02.jpg

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In light of new restrictions on Household Waste Recycling Centres, a business is warning of the dangers of paying a too-good-to-be-true price for waste removal.

The restrictions, which come into force at the beginning of February, will prevent certain types of trailers, heavier vehicles and some trucks from getting into HWRCs.

While some have said this could lead to members of the public fly-tipping, a local business which provides a waste disposal service told the Lochaber Times that those who provide a very low price for it could end up doing the majority of the fly-tipping.

Raymond Aitchison, who runs The Van Man business with his partner Leah Whyte, says those who provide the service at an extremely low price will often not have the right credentials.

In order to carry and dispose of waste, a contractor must be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and dispose of it at a private landfill where fees are required.

Ms Whyte said: ‘Those who are not registered to move waste and drive any of the vehicles stipulated in the new rules will not be able to make use of the Highland Council facility or Bowmans, whether or not they are commercial or domestic customers.

‘Highland Council will collect waste as special collections but not commercial waste and only if appropriately packaged and moved to the street. The likes of Restart Lochaber have had rubbish dumped by their gates, broken and badly damaged furniture because the recycling centre was closed. I would imaging they will have more problems with the likes of this too.’

Restart Lochaber is a non-profit organisation which specialises in refurbishing second-hand furniture. It is unable to dispose of anything left outside its gates without warning but can talk about donations and have a free pick-up service for all of Lochaber.

The new rules are designed to stop unregistered use of the public facility for commercial purposes and ultimately to save the council £300,000 over two years.

While Highland Council says the onus is on householders to check credentials of people providing services, there is one simple check you can do to make sure waste is not left at the side of a road.

Ms Whyte continued: ‘People will always want to pay the lowest price for this sort of service which I fully understand but in the event of fly-tipping occurring, any items that can trace the waste back to an address will be used to prosecute the home owner, not the person they paid to dispose of their waste. Fines are hefty.

‘Anyone having waste removed should ask the carrier for their SEPA waste carriers ID and they will be happy to provide that. Then they can be sure that the waste is processed correctly.’

Highland Council made clear that the changes are being introduced to tackle trade abuse, which will lead to fewer costs in handling trade materials and freeing up facilities for householders, which they are meant to be used by exclusively.

A statement from Highland Council’s recycling team pointed out that householders need to be responsible for any waste coming from their homes.

It said: ‘Householders should check what their plans are for the recycling or disposal of waste and that the cost is included in their quote. It is the builder/tradesperson’s legal responsibility to arrange for appropriate disposal of all waste that is generated as a result of their business activity.

‘However, as it has been produced on your property you have a responsibility to make reasonable checks to ensure that the waste will be carried by appropriately registered people.’

Single-axle trailers and vans under 3.5 tonnes are still accepted, therefore large volumes of material such as garden waste are still going to be accepted. The vehicle restrictions predominantly apply to trade-sized vehicles.