County cracking down on waste centres abuse

Northumberland County Council is cracking down on unauthorised use of its household waste recovery centres.

Twelve centres across the county, including at Bebside, North Seaton and Morpeth, can take a wide range of household waste items, but they are not designed for use by businesses, property developers or for waste from large-scale DIY home improvements.

The centres are provided and paid for through council tax for use by residents, and alternative services, are available for business use.

If residents wish to take their waste to a site with a van, trade type vehicle or a trailer longer than one and a half metres (five feet), they have to obtain a household waste permit before they visit.

The council has reviewed its permit scheme and as a result has agreed that it should limit the numbers of permits issued to residents to 12 per household per year, to bring it more into line with other local authority schemes.

Householders will also have an annual limit on the volume of DIY waste they can deposit each year of six cubic yards – or the equivalent of a single transit van load of soil / rubble / plasterboard / builder’s waste .

Property developers, private landlords or people who work for them, will not be able to take any construction or demolition waste or unwanted furniture and fittings.

The council also plans to use automated number plate recognition at some of its sites to identify suspected tradespeople using any vehicle, including cars.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member responsible for streetcare and environment at the council, said: “Unfortunately we find that some people do abuse the facilities at our waste centres, and those who aren’t authorised to use them do so in preference to making legitimate arrangements to dispose of their waste.”

“Our permitting arrangements have been extremely generous when compared to other councils, and this, linked with the cost of dealing with soil, rubble and fixtures and fittings, have led us to review our policies.

“We hope that through implementing these new measures we can make the sites even more convenient for residents and improve customer experience.”

The introduction of the changes to the permit scheme are being phased in – with the limit in number of permit to 12 being introduced from September 1, and new automated booking and volume monitoring procedures introduced from early 2015.

Household waste recovery centres are managed by Sita UK on behalf of Northumberland County Council.

For more about the permit scheme and how to deal with unwanted items, go to