Letter: Waste charges - County Council responsibility

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I was open-mouthed as I read the letter from Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader Pat Marsh last week.

The letter regarded a motion she and her colleagues put to the Borough Council regarding charges at the tip for rubble and linking this to a ’38 per cent increase’ in fly-tipping.

Charges at the tip are not levied by the Borough Council but by the County Council. The Borough Council has no ability whatsoever to set charges at the tip.

Coun Marsh claimed that an amendment tabled by me had altered their motion so that ‘it made no sense’. However, the reason for my amendment was that what was being proposed made no sense to start with. My amendment pointed out that charging at the tips is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council. The Liberal Democrats, despite claiming to oppose such charging, failed to move an amendment at the county council budget meeting to remove them.

One resident at the meeting told me how much this kind of behaviour reminds them of the tuition fees issue all over again. The second problem with the motion is that there has not been a ’38 per cent increase’ in fly-tipping of the items for which the County Council has decided to charge.

In fact there has only been a slight increase in fly tipping of rubble which is well within the natural annual variances we see. So my amendment simply corrected the figures. The final thing my amendment requested was that there should be accuracy in our statements about these issues.

Requesting accuracy, pointing out that the right place to amend the County Council budget is at the County Council budget meeting and correcting inaccurate figures should not be controversial. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives agree on so much at the Borough Council – we could have agreed on this too.

The important issue here though is about how we deal with fly-tipping and why there has been an increase in the amount of fly-tipping of items which can simply be taken to the tips for free. That is a piece of work we have to do and is the serious part of tackling fly-tipping in our district. This is what I hope we can all work together to address.

Richard Cooper

Member for the High

Harrogate ward

Leader of Harrogate Borough Council