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Three Surrey councils among country's seven most expensive for bulky waste collections; Waverley Borough Council charges more than any other local authority in England.

Byline: Jamie Phillips

Three Surrey councils are among the most expensive in the country for collecting bulkywasteitems, an investigation by theBBChas found.

Waverley Borough Councilcharges more than any other local authority in England for the collection of bulky waste.GuildfordandMole Valley, meanwhile, are in the top 10 most expensive as well, according to BBC data.

The cheapest local authority in Surrey isSpelthorne, charging [pounds sterling]8.80 on average for an item, while Waverley charge as much as [pounds sterling]44.

The BBC's Shared Data Unit compiled analysis on statistics on bulky waste charges across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, was sourced from local authority websites between October and November 2018.

It revealed widespread regional variation in how much people are being asked to pay - with prices ranging from just a few pounds for a single item to more than [pounds sterling]100 for collections of multiple items.

Bulky waste is furniture, household electrical items, such as televisions, and white goods like fridges and freezers -- essentially the items you no longer need but cannot fit into a bin.

While rubbish collection is one of the most basic services provided by local councils, not allhousehold wasteis covered by the cost ofcouncil tax. As councils face increasing pressure on their budgets, the majority are introducing additional charges for bulky waste collections -- a service many once provided free of charge.

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A spokesman for Waverley Borough Council said: "Looking after our environment is extremely important to us and we encourage our residents to recycle or reuse their bulky waste wherever possible.

"The collection of bulky waste is not a service we have to provide and as such we charge for collections so they aren't being subsidised by council taxpayers who don't use the service.

"We provide the service to those in receipt of benefits at a loss. In 2017-18, a total of 1,348 collection were made."

Guildford Borough Council said "it is not responsible for setting the charges for bulky waste collection". Instead the service is carried out by an external organisation that sets its own fees.

"The council is not responsible for setting the charges for bulky waste collection, or for the collection service," a spokesman for the council said.

"It is carried out by an external organisation in our borough, who set their own fees. They have a high quality and regular collection service, which is well used."

Just 15 of the 326 councils in England still offer free bulky waste collection to their residents.

Concerns have been raised that the charges could lead to more fly-tipiing in Surrey and the surrounding areas. Croydon Council re-introduced free bulky waste collections in April 2018 in an attempt to tackle fly-tipping issues. However, it has said the measure "hasn't really made any difference at all".

Mole Valley district councillor, Patricia Wiltshire, cabinet member for environment, said: "The whole world faces the enormous challenge of how to dispose of waste in a responsible way, and this cannot be done cheaply. We offer our bulky waste collection service to assist residents who otherwise might not be able to dispose of large items themselves.

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"Payment covers both collection and disposal of items, and the more items that are collected at one visit reduces the cost per item. The cost to the householder reflects the quality and efficiency of our services, and we pride ourselves in having a good record in these respects."

Across the UK, most local authorities charge per item but there are other ways of charging.

Some assign items to points to determine a price, while others charge a set price no matter how many items are collected.

There is widespread variation in discounts available for pensioners and people on benefits - and some councils do not offer any help at all.

A new government waste strategy was launched in December which includes consulting on plans for manufacturers to foot the cost of disposing of the goods they produce.

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Credit: Surrey Mirror

Find out how much Surrey's councils are charging to collect your bulk waste

Credit: Buckinghamshire County Council

There is concern that the charges could lead to more fly-tipping
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Publication:Get Surrey (Surrey, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 10, 2019
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