Paterson issues call for tougher penalties to meet recycling targets

Hawick Councillor Davie Paterson
Hawick Councillor Davie Paterson

COUNCILLOR Davie Paterson has called for heavy fines to be handed out to householders who refuse to recycle.

The Hawick and Hermitage member spoke at a meeting of the Teviot and Liddesdale Committee this week amid concerns the cash-strapped council could be penalised for failing to meet recycling and landfill diversion targets set out by the Scottish Government.

Councillor Paterson said: “More should be done to penalise those people who do not recycle. It’s a disgrace that everybody in the Borders could be paying for this because, even in this day and age, people refuse to recycle their rubbish.”

Although Scottish Borders Council met the recycling target of 40 per cent by 2010, this increases to 50 per cent in 2013, 60 per cent by 2020 and 70 per cent by 2025.

There is also a maximum landfill limit of five per cent by 2025.

Councillor George Turnbull said: “We’re making headway but we’ve still a long way to go.”

There are some legislative means for local authorities to pursue enforcement action against those refusing to recycle.

However, it has generally been the case that they encourage everyone to recycle as much as possible with education and awareness-raising activities, along with promotional work, being a key feature to deliver this. COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) has supported this view across Scotland.

As part of the Scottish Government’s development of the Zero Waste Plan, regulations have also been produced and the government is currently reviewing and consulting on existing enforcement measures available to local authorities in relation to waste and recycling.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “SBC will continue to engage with householders to maximize recycle rates in all areas, while awaiting the outcome of the consultation and the publication of any new regulations.”

Meanwhile, fears were expressed by Councillor Ron Smith that an increase in the charge for uplifts may lead to more fly-tipping in the area. In the latest budget it was agreed to raise the charge from £10 for two items to £25 for five.

Councillor Smith said: “This doesn’t look good at all. It’s important to emphasise that the service is still running at a loss and the new charge will still mean that it runs at a loss and much of that is because of having to get to isolated, far-flung areas to pick up single items.

“Maybe the pious hope is that people will get together with their neighbours and there will be a good few things picked up under one uplift.

“I have a problem with this. I think £25 is too much.”

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