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Council official says booking fee for bulky waste collection is to stop no-shows

A COUNCIL official has explained that a new booking fee proposed for bulky waste collections is intended to stop no-shows after concerns were raised over some budget proposals potentially leading to fly-tipping.

At a Cardiff Council environmental scrutiny committee meeting on Monday February 27, Assistant Director for Street Scene at the authority, Matthew Wakelam, answered members questions about this year’s budget proposals.

The proposals that have been made by Cardiff Council include closing household waste recycling centres for one day of the week and the introduction of a booking fee for bulky waste collections.

Scrutiny committee member, Cllr Ashley Wood, asked about the booking fee and if it would be on top of the current charge for collections.

Ashley Wood, Liberal Democrat councillor for Gabalfa, Cardiff Picture: Ed Barnes

The current charge for bulky waste collections in Cardiff is £12.50 for every two items.

As part of the council’s budget proposals for 2023/24, a £5 booking charge for collections is being put forward.

Mr Wakelam said the council saw an increase in requests for bulky waste collections when they made the service available through their app and website.

However, he added that cancellations and people not putting their waste out after having booked a slot started becoming an issue.

He said: “We are not changing any of the charging specifically for the items that are collected.

“The reason why we have had to include a booking fee, and it will be on top of those charges, is because we are finding large numbers of people aren’t presenting.

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“Because there is no cost in relation to the materials which are recyclable, when we are turning up to collect the items the people aren’t presenting it because there is no recourse, so unfortunately we are going to have to put a booking fee in there to limit that.

“We are driving up in a vehicle to collect these items across the city and we want to minimise the inefficiency of that.

“As I said, the items that we collect are very wide ranging, but a number of these items are now small electrical items which will be accessible more at our hubs. Smaller items will be able to be deposited to there.

“We are hoping that the bulky item collection will be for bulky items such as beds and large furniture items…”

At Monday’s scrutiny meeting, Cardiff Youth Council member Shifa Shahzad asked Mr Wakelam how the council will look to minimise the risk of fly-tipping as a result of the proposed closure of recycling centres during the week.

Mr Wakelam said: “We haven’t got firm proposals, but we are looking to keep at least one of our recycling centres open every day.

“So, we will be closing Lamby Way, say on a Tuesday and Bessemer on a Wednesday.

“There will always be a facility open for residents to use and the reduction isn’t going to have any impact because, as I said, the capacity at the moment is about 50%, so even if we put Lamby Way and Bessemer together that is only going to be about 100%.

“We are picking the low use days, which are the Tuesday and the Wednesday. We are leaving the Monday because of the bank holidays, but we are keeping it flexible at the moment because we have got to get the workforce to change their shift patterns.

“We just want to make sure that we have got that ability to talk to the unions and our workforce about those proposals as we move forward.”