U turn on recycling charges

Hold it! Seems you won’t now be charged for disposing of rubble, plasterboard and tyres at local recycling centres. At least – not for now.

B&NES Council Leader, Kevin Guy, has announced that the Lib Dem administration is putting on hold the proposed charges for this type of waste at recycling centres.

Speaking at the first in-person meeting of B&NES Cabinet since February 2020, Councillor Kevin Guy announced the proposals were being put on hold.

“As Leader, and as a common sense guy, I know how important it is both that we listen to residents and that we respond swiftly to changes in circumstance.

Two things have changed happened since the decision was made to introduce charges for rubble etc at recycling centres.

First, I was elected Leader and I reaffirmed that we are a listening council. Cllr Wood and I have listened to local residents and parish councils who say they are concerned about the unintended consequences of these charges.

Second, circumstances have changed. The government have launched a consultation about consistency in recycling services in England.

Bringing in charges now, only to change them later following government instruction, would be confusing for residents and would add to our officers’ administrative burdens. It would make no sense. And I’m a common sense kind of guy.

That’s why I am announcing today that we are putting on hold the proposed charges for rubble, plasterboard and tyres at recycling centres. Charges will not be introduced next week.

We will look again at how to make alternatives savings to balance the Council’s budget. As Liberal Democrats we pride ourselves on being the only party that balances the Councils books every year.

I’m pleased the government is seriously looking at new rules that would mean a ‘win-win’ for council taxpayers and DIY-ers whilst helping us deliver our recycling and climate emergency commitments.

It’s time we started thinking differently about who pays for recycling. We need new funding streams so that council taxpayers in areas such as ours which prioritise recycling of a wide range of materials don’t lose out.

So, we will also be lobbying central government for new legislation so that funding to recycle these materials comes from producers rather than council taxpayers.

There is strength in listening to different views, there is wisdom in changing our mind when circumstances change, there is integrity in balancing our books, and there’s common sense in the pause to charging we are announcing today.”

Councillor Dave Wood, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, added: “I’m pleased the government is seriously looking at new rules that would mean a ‘win-win’ for council taxpayers and DIY-ers whilst helping us deliver our recycling and climate emergency commitments.

“It’s time we started thinking differently about who pays for recycling. We need new funding streams so that council taxpayers in areas such as ours which prioritise recycling of a wide range of materials don’t lose out. So we will also be lobbying central government for new legislation so that funding to recycle these materials comes from producers rather than council taxpayers.”

Cllr Grant Johnson.

A differing perspective on events from Cllr Grant Johnson who is Labour Group Chair and councillor for Paulton:

“It is obviously fantastic to see these backward looking and thoughtless charges put on hold by the administration, after Labour’s online campaign to see the policy reversed.

I heard from so many residents who were saying two things, 1. This will lead to more fly tipping and 2. Don’t we already pay for this service as part of our Council Tax? I agreed with everyone that made these very valid arguments, which is why we were putting pressure on the cabinet to reverse the decision.

The leader of the Council said that charges for waste would be confusing for residents, but I think that does them an injustice. What this cabinet needs to understand is that we need to think about residents first, rather than blaming them for the Lib Dem administrations half-baked ideas.


The dramatic change in direction just 4 days before the charges were due to be introduced also shows a Council Cabinet that is in disarray, with no clear direction or leadership. It really is an embarrassing time to be a Liberal Democrat in Bath and North East Somerset.”

NB. The planned charges – due to have come in on Monday, May 24 – would have seen residents pay £2 to dispose of a bag of rubble, £4 for a bag of plasterboard and £3.50 for car tyres, but with residents still being able to dispose of their household and garden waste free of charge at all three recycling centres.

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