Tougher waste dumping rules pit small business owners against council
Fly-tipping could increase and small firms could go out of business after a council banned commercial vehicles from bringing waste into its recycling centres.
That is the warning from the owner of a business who said he could not afford the rates charged by private waste management firms and was no longer able to use the centres run by Ards and North Down Council.
Conor McQuillan, of North Down Clearance Services, said the council's move would lead to less congested waste sites, save millions and protect access for small and medium-sized local businesses that can still bring trade waste in cars.
But Mr McQuillan added: "It's had a drastic effect on local businesses and traders who use it, not even on a daily basis, but a weekly basis. They have nowhere else to take it. A business such as ourselves, which does house clearances, takes ratepayers' household waste to the centre.
"This is not in the best interests of the local people. We're providing a service to disabled people, elderly people, people who don't have a means of transport, people who can't physically do it themselves."
After a meeting with the council yesterday, Mr McQuillan said they introduced the ban because of the volume of traffic, volume of waste and vans blocking access.
"If you're doing collections from five properties, that is only one vehicle as opposed to five," he added.
"Those people would have to transport it on another vehicle, so this is reducing traffic flow. As for the volume of actual waste, the ratepayers are going to transfer this waste regardless - the volume isn't going to change by banning vans. It's going to come anyway.
"There is no cost-effective way of doing this. It will put us out of business because there is no reasonable means of emptying the van."
A council spokesman said: "It is not unreasonable to expect a business that will be affected by the changes to build into their business model the cost of the management of their waste by a private waste management company, rather than expecting domestic rates to continue to subsidise it.
"There are numerous private waste recycling and disposal services widely accessible to any business that will no longer be able to bring their commercial-type vehicle into the council's household recycling centres.
"The change in access restrictions for commercial-type vehicles to the council's household recycling centres is necessary to enhance and improve the efficiency of these facilities for householders, whose domestic rates pay for them.
"The current access arrangements by all types of users and vehicles has led to a totally unsustainable situation, where the domestic ratepayer is footing an annual bill of up to £1.4m and rising to dispose of the extra 15,000 tonnes of waste that the council has to manage each year over, which is above the NI council average.
"Most of that extra waste is coming into our household recycling centres in commercial-type vehicles."