DEVON residents will soon no longer have to pay to take DIY waste to recycling centres, but the move has been criticised by the county council.
Defra recently announced that charges to get rid of items like old baths, carpets and plasterboard will be abolished after 'overwhelming public support,' claiming it will help households to dispose of waste responsibly.
But Roger Croad (Conservative, Ivybridge), Devon’s councillor in charge of waste, says it’s unfair to shift the cost of DIY waste disposal from those who can afford home improvements to all council tax payers.
Devon, like many other local authorities, introduced charges for some DIY waste in 2011 in response to cuts to government funding. It says removing these charges will cost around £1 million in lost revenue and could lead to reduced opening hours.
Cllr Croad, who is 'very disappointed' with the government’s announcement, added: 'We will have to see the details of what is now being proposed before considering its impact on our budget and our service.
'The disposal of waste comes at a cost. It doesn’t seem right that all council taxpayers should have to pay for waste from people who can afford to carry out their own home improvements. There will be many residents who will feel aggrieved at helping to pay for other people’s home improvements.
'Public finances are already stretched and this will add to our financial burden.'
Explaining the change earlier this month, environment minister Rebecca Pow said: 'We want to make it as easy as possible for people to dispose of their waste properly and that’s why we are removing the financial burden on doing the right thing with DIY trash.
'This not only supports our wider work to tackle fly-tipping and waste crime, but we are helping home improvers across the nation make their dream projects a reality.'
However, Devon’s opposition leader Julian Brazil (Lib Dem, Kingsbridge) has also expressed concern. 'It’s disappointing that once again central government is telling us how to run our services,” he said. “Maybe they should put their own house in order first.
'If we had proper funding we wouldn’t need to charge. The government is slipping on the double second home council tax and they’ve failed to close the business rate/council tax flip on holiday homes. If we had that revenue, then we could afford not to charge.'
Defra says the changes 'complement wider action we are taking to tackle fly-tipping and waste crime, which is estimated to cost the economy £924 million per year in England.'
They will come into force later this year.