Abuse of Kirklees’ waste tips by tradesmen and women is at the heart of new registration rules, Kirklees Council has revealed.
The council has answered our questions on why it needed a new electronic system that monitors vehicle number plates.
The scheme requires anyone who uses the borough’s five waste and recycling centres to register their details and there are different rules for different vehicles.
Staff are allowed to refuse entry to people who try to break the rules. Residents claim the controversial new rules have been “dumped” on them.
Anyone who wants to use one of the borough’s five waste tips must now register for a permit.
The Examiner revealed the new scheme was quietly introduced this week and will go fully live in July. It requires households to register their details of cars online before they are allowed to use any of the council’s waste and recycling centres.
The registrations and details of the vehicles used to take rubbish to the tip must be lodged with the council via their website. Only two vehicles can be submitted per home.
Meltham resident Colin Moss is not happy about limited tip visits
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At the same time, the council has suspended its bulky waste collection service until July 11, at which point it will begin charging customers to remove their items. The fees have not yet been published.
The service will be closed for seven weeks to allow staff to catch up on the backlog of requests already logged.
The new system is expected to go live on July 11.
The Examiner posed a series of questions to Kirklees Council — here's what it said:
Q: Why do we have to register - in other words, what is the need for this new system?
The council has had a permit system for a number of years, but this has varied from paper ones to plastic cards depending on the site a resident used. The new system, and requirement to register, is designed to tackle two main issues, the first is to bring consistency and simplicity for residents, essentially turning their vehicle into their permit so it cannot be lost or forgotten and easily identified at sites. The second is to tackle the increasing problem of trade waste abuse at our sites and the ‘lending’ of permits to businesses, friends or family outside of Kirklees. This has been exacerbated by the closure of neighbouring authority sites, leading to non-Kirklees residents crossing the border to sites such as Nab Lane and Thornhill. This abuse by traders and use by non-Kirklees residents causes increased operating and disposal costs, born by Kirklees tax payers, as well as increased queuing at some sites.
Q: What is done with the information on our vehicles?
The information is used by site operatives who enter the vehicle registration to check if the vehicle is allowed to use the site. The make and colour are used to double check the vehicle registration plate has not been copied or ‘lent’.
Q: How will this stop unregistered people going to the tips?
If someone turns up to a site after July 11 and has not registered they will first be reminded. Anyone with a smartphone with an internet connection can also quickly register at the site. If someone continues to turn up unregistered then they will be turned away from the site and not allowed to deposit their waste.
Q: What will staff do if an unregistered vehicle attempts to use the tip? Can they use force to turn them away?
If someone continues to try to use a site and is not registered, or they are not eligible to register, then site staff have the authority to refuse entry. Whilst staff will not use force, if someone becomes violent, abusive or proceeds to use the site illegally their details will be taken and provided to the relevant authorities. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated, nor should it be by staff who are doing a good job and are only making sure those who pay Council Tax for the sites can use the sites.
Q: Is an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera system in use?
A number of our sites currently have had ANPR installed for a while but we have not yet linked the new system to this, we first want to ensure everything is working as planned. We will though explore this in the future.
Q: Will car park style entrance barriers be installed?
This has not been explored at the moment, but it presents an interesting idea that we may look at in more detail.
Q: For people who change cars frequently, is there an unlimited amount of re-registering allowed?
There is no limit on the amount of times residents can update their details. However, if someone exhibits strange activity such as an excessively high number of visits beyond the norm then we may wish to explore the reasons or require some further information.
Q: How do people register if they’re not online?
People can only register online. However, there are a number of ways people without a computer can register, for example using smartphones, libraries, council customer care centres, friends, family, neighbours and so on. The forms have been simply designed and for most people it takes less than 5 minutes to complete. If someone doesn’t have an email address then this can be easily created at the same time using websites such as yahoo, google and outlook.
Q: Will the council be monitoring how often certain vehicles use the tip and imposing a limit on their use?
We will monitor usage in general to highlight those who show unusual behaviour. There is no limit on normal car users but there are some limits on larger and commercial type vehicles, at a level we believe is reasonable for the size of vehicle involved. These types of vehicles may require additional information, such as a permission letter from the company that owns them, so it is important residents enter correct contact details. If we cannot get in touch then we cannot finalise the registration.
Q: People living on the outskirts of Kirklees may use other authorities’ waste centres. Is Kirklees working with them to combat this?
We have been speaking to some of our neighbours to discuss our plans and the potential wider impacts. The majority already operate some form of permit system for their sites and some have started to close their sites near to the Kirklees border, for example Wakefield have now closed their Owl Lane site near to the Dewsbury Rams Stadium. However, we would always encourage our residents to use our sites.
Q: What are people supposed to do with rubble/soil and plasterboard which are now banned from the tip?
With this change it is important for residents to note any waste generated by a tradesman in carrying out works is the responsibility of the trader to remove and dispose of legally. However, if a resident wishes to dispose of these materials themselves then they can hire a skip for example or for soil/rubble they can book a bulky waste collection from their doorstep for a small charge.
Q: People with small cars or no car who hire a van to go to the tip - what are they to do?
For those residents that hire a vehicle they only have to bring a copy of a utility bill or council tax with the hire agreement and they will be able to use the site.
The council has revealed that SUEZ, who operate the tips, has recently rebranded from its old name of SITA.