Somerset waste bosses have said there is “no evidence” that raising charges at the county’s recycling centres will lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

The Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) plans to raise the cost of disposing of certain items at its 16 household waste recycling centres, as well as the charges for its garden waste collections and for the collection of bulky items at the kerbside.

The announcement, following a meeting of the Somerset waste board on September 23, prompted a huge backlash on social media, with Somerset residents claiming the rise in prices would lead to a sharp increase in fly-tipping.

Waste bosses have said such fears are not backed up by research into fly-tipping rates, and maintained the increases were necessary in light of high inflation, the cost of living crisis and the financial pressures on Somerset’s local authorities.

A spokesman said: “We’re acutely aware of the scourge of fly-tipping, which is a criminal offence, and support district colleagues in their work to tackle it.

“There is no evidence to support the suggestion that on-site charges increase fly-tipping.

(Mendip District Counci)

“An investigation by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP – the leading voice in the field) found no link between charging and higher rates of fly-tipping.

“We are committed to the ‘producer pays principle’, rather than all taxpayers covering the costs of disposing of waste that only a few produce.

“Like all public sector organisations, we are facing big budgetary pressures. Reviewing fees and charges is part of the way we – and many other waste authorities – can manage those pressures and minimise impacts on services.”

The price rises will take effect from April 1, 2023, as part of the initial budget of the new unitary Somerset Council which will be agreed in February.

At recycling centres, the charge for disposing of tyres will rise from £4.10 to £4.40 for an unrimmed tyre or from £5.40 to £5.80 for a rimmed tyre – though the cost of disposing of lorry tyres will be around ten times as much as the latter.

There will be similar rises in price for sacks of soil or hardcore, gas bottles, individual sheets of asbestos and sacks of plasterboard.

There is no evidence to support the suggestion that on-site charges increase fly-tipping

Somerset Waste Partnership

The price of garden waste collections for those with a green bin will rise from £57.20 to £63.50 a year – a rise of 11 per cent.

For customers opting for ten garden sacks instead, the cost will rise from £28.30 to £31.40 per year.

For bulky waste collections, the SWP will now charge £68.60 for up to the first three items and a further £17.20 for up to a further five items.

Those looking to get rid of asbestos (up to a maximum of 16 sheets or one tonne at any one time) will see the cost rise from £259.20 to £284.20.