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The council is considering trialling the acceptance of trade waste at one of its recycling centres in Merthyr Tydfil to boost its recycling rates and reduce fly-tipping,

The idea was discussed at a neighbourhood services, planning and countryside scrutiny committee on Monday, September 26.

It would involve a trial of the acceptance of recyclable materials from trade premises that are cost neutral or provide an income for the council at the Dowlais household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) .

The report said this will be monitored under a permit scheme in order to increase the council’s recycling performance and reduce fly-tipping.

The report said the trial is being considered to improve the amount of recyclable materials collected at HWRCs to increase the authority’s overall recovery rate and help towards achieving the Welsh Government’s recovery targets of 64% currently, rising to 70% in 2024-25.

It also said an outlet for traders to legally deposit some of their waste materials may positively impact on fly-tipping within the county borough.

The idea is that the trial runs for a minimum of 12 months but the council would continue to deny access to vehicle sizes above 3.5 tonnes, flat beds and tail-lift vehicles as this can cause disruption to operations and affect waiting times.

Access to the site will be limited to cars or vehicles that are currently permitted under the van permit scheme.

Traders who currently do not have a kerbside trade contract in place with Merthyr Tydfil Council will have to pay an annual fee to cover Waste Transfer Note (WTN) documentation and registration costs to use the Dowlais HWRC free of charge to deposit recycling.

The current charge for a WTN in 2022-23 is £42.16 and the customer will
need to register with the council’s waste services department to access the site to deposit material.

Current trade customers of Merthyr Tydfil Council will not be subject to this charge as they already pay this fee as part of their trade kerbside collection contracts but they will still be required to register with the waste services department.

Only household waste can be deposited at the HWRCs. Trade waste and construction and demolition waste isn’t currently accepted.

The van permit scheme was implemented in 2008 to reduce the amount of waste being deposited at the Dowlais and Aberfan HWRCs, predominantly through illegal use by traders.

Councillor Malcolm Colbran said he fully supports the plan and said it is long overdue.

He said he’s had trade waste himself in the past and would’ve welcomed the opportunity to take it to the Dowlais site rather than pay to get it taken away separately, adding “I think it’s a great idea.”

Councillor Clive Jones welcomed the fact they’re on target for a 66% recycling rate this year and that this might add on 3.6%.

He said: “I think this is a move forward to get our target and keep it over the 70%.”

Councillor Paula Layton said she fully supports it and think it’s great they’re looking to help residents, hopefully fl-tipping will reduce and it will help them meet their recycling targets.

The policy will need to be approved by full council.

Proposed changes to the van permit scheme for household waste recycling centres

Another report at the same meeting explained proposals to change the van permit scheme.

The proposal includes removing the limit of six permits in a rolling year and allow an unlimited number in a bit to increase recycling and reduce fly-tipping.

The report said the downside will be increased costs associated with increased volumes of certain materials but that it will be a more cost-effective way to achieve strict government targets rather than pay the associated fines if the council does not achieve them.

The proposal also includes removing the requirement for minibuses and multi-purpose vehicles to have permits to use the sites with the report saying this will reduce the amount of incoming complaints along with streamlining the system which in turn simplifies the process for both the on-site staff and site users.

It said this may also reduce fly-tipping of building materials such as plasterboard and rubble, which in effect will reduce clean-up costs.

It said the council’s overall recycling performance will increase even though this might be at a minor cost.

The report said that when the electronic permit has been applied for then this can be used at any time and not restricted to seven days as it has no impact on service delivery.

The system implemented in 2008 allowed residents of the county borough who wished to deposit waste and or recycling at the sites using a van or trailer to apply for a free of charge permit or permits.

The permit did not allow vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be used by residents.

Residents could be allocated six permits per rolling year and have up to three permits under one application but permits must be used within seven days of the application.

The report said the van permit scheme has been successful in terms of controlling trade waste being deposited at the HWRCs.

But it said the system was flawed in terms of monitoring permit distribution from outlets other than the civic centre as these departments did not use the same monitoring system.

This meant checks could not be carried out on how many permits had been issued to residents resulting in numerous incidents of householders receiving permits exceeding the six per year allowance.

In 2019, to improve the application process and have more control over distribution of permits and record the types of waste taken to the sites it was decided to provide an online service. Paper permits are also available at the civic centre.

Site staff are able to check the validity of permits, as well as monitor the correct allocation, via handheld electronic devices.

Cllr Colbran said he fully agrees with the report and said it’s “a really positive step” and “will be of great benefit to all our residents”.

Cllr Clive Jones also welcomed the report and said: “My guess is, this will definitely reduce fly-tipping of building materials.”

He said in fly-tipping hot spots throughout the county borough apart from the usual black bags, you’ll find a certain amount of building materials and that’s been going on for years.

He said he has “no doubt at all” that the permit changes would increase recycling and reduce fly-tipping.

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