This report updates the Committee on Medway’s response to the introduction of charges for DIY waste at the Kent County Council (KCC) Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
The Committee received a report providing an update on Medway’s response to the introduction of charges for DIY waste at the Kent County Council (KCC) Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) which came into effect from 3 June 2019.
As there were no charges or restrictions imposed on waste materials disposed through Medway’s HWRC network, in the light of KCC’s change of policy, it had been necessary for officers to consider the potential impact of KCC’s decision on usage of Medway’s HWRCs.
Following discussions with KCC, a new cross-boundary payment had been agreed for 2019/20 which meant that KCC residents could continue to use Medway’s sites free of charge, with all costs for KCC waste being paid to Medway Council by KCC.
It was confirmed that usage by KCC residents would be closely monitored through the new on-site ID checks and should usage or tonnages increase above the 28% throughput threshold or the impact on the sites becomes unsustainable, then the cross-boundary agreement permitted the level of fee payable to be re-negotiated with KCC. In addition, negotiations would commence with KCC in November 2019 for any extension of the cross-border agreement for 2020/21.
The Committee noted that a comprehensive communications campaign had been put in place to inform Medway residents that usage of Medway’s HWRCs would remain free of charge but that from 3 June 2019, residents would be required to bring proof of ID. The Head of Environmental Services confirmed that since the new ID checks had been put in place, only a small percentage of users of the facilities had not been aware of the requirement to provide ID.
In response to a question as to the current ID checks, the Head of Environmental Services advised that the requirement for Medway residents to provide ID at HWRCs was necessary to enable officers to maintain an accurate record of usage by Kent residents. This information would be used to support any further negotiations which may be required with KCC.
The Head of Environmental Services also informed the Committee that KCC was in the process of providing a new HWRC and that once this site was operational, the cross-boundary agreement for KCC residents to use Medway’s sites would likely cease. For this reason, Medway was continuing to undertake works at its HWRCs in preparation for this eventuality, and to safeguard the future use of its HWRCs without the implementation of charges for Medway residents. Discussions were also taking place with officers in Transformation with a view to the possible future introduction of a pre-registration scheme for Medway residents at a future date, so that they would have quicker access to HWRC sites without the need for ID checks.
The Committee discussed the report and in response to questions, the Head of Environmental Services confirmed that Medway had been able to re-coup the additional costs incurred by Medway following the temporary closure of the Pepperhill site by KCC in 2018.
The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Head of Environmental Services and the Waste Disposal Officer for the work that they had undertaken in responding to the policy change by KCC.
The Committee noted that no charges will be made to Medway residents for using Medway’s HWRCs and that Medway’s sites will continue to be accessible to Kent residents from 3 June 2019 as set out in option 4 in the report until such time that KCC has built a new facility, which is likely to be within a period of 12 – 18 months. All costs incurred by Kent residents will be fully recouped from KCC.