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New £35 waste fee slammed by critics

PUBLISHED: 16:46 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:35 14 August 2017

This pile of mattresses was left on Harlesden high street Picture: Luke Toms

This pile of mattresses was left on Harlesden high street Picture: Luke Toms

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Brent Council is to charge residents £35 to dispose of bulky waste from next month.

The new fee, which the council says will keep it in line with neighbouring boroughs, means that householders will have to pay to have big objects like sofas and beds collected from their homes.

However the charge has been met with stinging criticism with fears illegal fly-tipping, which is already a huge problem in Brent, will get worse as a result.

A report released this week revealed that Brent Council failed to meet its KPI targets for waste disposal and recycling this year.

The report to the cabinet committee which meets on Monday says there were 4,568 reports of illegal waste dumping in the first quarter of this year - 50 per cent higher than the 3,000 target set by the council.

In 2015/16, transit van fly-tipping clearance costs in Brent soared over the £300,000 mark, way above the London borough average of just under £90,000. Small van and car boot fly-tipping also caused a huge cash burden with costs over £150,000 each.

Brent Liberal Democrat Anton Georgiou, who stood for election in Brent Central in June, believes the £35 charge will lead to more incidents of fly-tipping.

“Logic says that dumping will intensify. Brent already has a huge problem with fly-tipping. We are just going to see it increasing.”

In 2014, the council approved plans to charge £40 to collect green waste, which has inceased to £50 since and is likely to increase further to £60. Mr Georgiou says there has been a significant rise in green waste dumping since the the charges were bought in and urges the council to reconsider the bulky waste charge.

He said: “We need dynamic ideas. Why can’t we come up with innovative ways to deal with this instead of copying what other boroughs in London are doing?”

The plans have caused a storm on Twitter and Facebook with one resident commenting: “Fly-tipping will surge. Its completely counterproductive.”

The council says five items can be included in the £35 fee, which costs £10 more than neighbouring Camden. They are also encouraging residents to take unwanted items to charity shops.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood said: “Like anything in life it would be great if the service was free for everyone, but year-on-year cuts to our budget from central government mean that’s just not a possibility.”

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