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What a load of rubbish! Fury as council scraps free uplifts amid fears the new PS25 charge could see a spike in fly-tipping.

Byline: JUDITH TONNER

New charges of PS25 for householders requesting special uplifts have now come into effect - ending North Lanarkshire's previous policy of allowing residents three free uplifts per year.

The policy forms part of the authority's PS30 million budget savings measures.

Airdrie parliamentarians Neil Gray MP and Alex Neil MSP have written to council chief executive Des Murray protesting about the charge, as well as rules preventing vans entering recycling centres.

They have called the decision "ill thought-out", and will lead to "an inevitable increase in fly tipping".

Mr Gray told the Advertiser: "Many folk rely on the fact that they had three free uplifts per year to remove any large items; now many are left wondering how they'll manage to pay to have items removed.

"Given that the council has also prevented people from using vans at recycling centres unless they can provide proof of hire for the vehicle, is the council prepared for the inevitable rise in fly-tipping that will surely accompany these moves? "What difference does using a hired van as opposed to a driverowned or company vehicle make to the staff or usage of the recycling centres? "These measures are shortsighted and could lead to rural areas and out-of-the-way industrial sites being used as unofficial dumps.

"To save the cost of either a special uplift or hiring a van, financial constraints could force some people to look at extreme measures for disposing of their unwanted items."

Mr Neil agreed: "This ridiculous decision will prevent many residents from getting items picked up due to financial constraints - charging will have a negative impact not only on the residents of North Lanarkshire, but the environment."

The PS25 charge will allow residents to "arrange for up to 10 household items or 20 bags of rubbish to be uplifted" - including furniture, carpets and electrical items - while North Lanarkshire's website notes: "If you have a large volume of materials to be uplifted, a council officer will carry out a home visit to decide if it is possible for our crews to uplift and assess the time required."

A PS100 charge applied to larger items such as those from kitchen and bathroom refurbishments; home renovations debris including wood, boilers, doors and dismantled sheds; plus soil, rubble and branches and hedges too big for the brown garden waste bin.

The Labour administration had actually proposed a PS30 special uplift charge, but the new cost for the service was reduced following negotiations with the Conservative group in return for securing their support for the overall finance package.

Council leader Jim Logue told the Advertiser at that time: "We're going into areas which in the past we would never have considered - that's the sad reality, and increasing charges and minimising subsidies is going to be a recurring theme.

"Every cost code has down sides [and] we've resisted special uplift charges in the past.

"But 60 per cent of the budget is ring fenced so all savings have to come from 40 per cent of the core budget."

A council spokesperson previously told the Advertiser of the policy restricting vans entering its household waste sites: "The council's waste recycling centres are licensed by SEPA to allow residents to dispose of waste from their homes.

"The licence does not allow the disposal of commercial waste at the sites.

"However, we were increasingly experiencing businesses trying to bring their waste to the centres and had to impose restrictions on vehicles entering the centres."

"This ridiculous decision will prevent many residents from getting items picked up due to financial constraints... - charging will have a negative impact... Alex Neil MP

CAPTION(S):

Uplift charge Monklands residents can no longer request free uplifts from the council

Ridiculous decision Alex Neil MSP
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Publication:Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 10, 2019
Words:620
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