A five-fold increase in the council’s charge for uplifting bulky household items could aggravate the existing problem of fly-tipping in the town, it is feared.
From Sunday, requests for the uplift of items will be subject to a £25 flat fee. This will guarantee the uplift of up to five items, which were previously “priced” at £5.50 each, or £12 for fridges and freezers.
Parts of the town and the surrounding area have been swamped by unwanted mattresses, car tyres and fridges, and the former abattoir site on the hill behind Mansfield Park has become a common dumping ground for many unwanted items. It is understood that the owner of the land, Irish meat processing company Kepak, has plans to barricade the entrance by piling up existing earth and rubble to keep fly-tippers away.
Hawick and Denholm councillor, Stuart Marshall, says the council has argued that neighbours could agree to dispose of unwanted items together and share the cost of uplift of multiple items.
“I do fear it will add to more fly-tipping, but the council takes the view that people should be trying to share the costs with their neighbours. My view is it will lead to more fly-tipping. It’s a huge issue and a huge drain on public resources.”
Councillor Davie Paterson went further, saying: “It’s just not going to happen. Folk are just going to fly-tip.”
Councillor Marshall highlighted the Princes Street area of the town as notorious for fly-tipping.
“Mattresses and overflowing wheelie bins that have been there for weeks on end – it’s making the whole area a mess and residents are quite right to be angry.”
The council has admitted that the only alternative to introducing the £25 flat fee was to remove the uplift service entirely. It advised local people to make use of free-of-charge recycling centres such as the one in Mansfield Road.
Ross Sharp-Dent, Scottish Borders Council’s waste manager, explained: “Various charging scheme options were reviewed by the council, resulting in the £25 flat fee for five items being introduced from this April. Waste services fully appreciates the concerns of local residents, however, it is likely that the alternative, which was the removal of the service altogether, would have resulted in a far greater increase in fly-tipping.
“In addition to the special uplift service, Scottish Borders Council also operates a number of community recycling centres, including in Mansfield Road in Hawick – providing residents with an alternative means of disposing of bulky items with no charge.”