You might think with all the recent farcical reverses with Tory-controlled West Sussex County Council and the amenity tips that they run, like County Oak, that they would long postpone any further moves that put obstacles in the way of people being able to dump their rubbish. But, of course, you would be wrong.
Earlier this month, a report appeared just days before a scheduled meeting, asking county councillors to support the introduction of resident permits to use West Sussex tips, without any supporting evidence it was needed.
Now, it’s true Surrey County Council is planning to introduce charging to their residents for dumping waste in the new year, but for the Tories to try and introduce this permit scheme with such short notice is a knee-jerk reaction.
To foil cross-border dumpers, the Tory leadership appear eager to impose an additional bureaucratic obstacle in the way of West Sussex residents using their own tips!
Every change to the use of our dumps should have taught the county council by now that anything making it more difficult for residents to dump their household waste creates more problems than it solves. It’s almost painful watching the council do this to itself.
The lack of detail for this proposal was woeful, it became clear there were no firm plans at all. Photo ID, an actual permit or even just showing a utility bill were all tentatively suggested.
But that wasn’t all, it was also proposed that councillors support the winter closure of Crawley, Burgess Hill and Chichester tips one day a week, when currently these larger sites are open daily. The vote was tied, but pushed through by the Tory Chairman using his casting vote.
Added to the practical barriers with decreased days and opening hours, it will take up even more time with staff inspecting permits, creating longer traffic queues into the tips.
Of course the added rigmarole risks increasing flytipping, as people give up trying to deal with the council's changes. Also, the overall cost is going to be £10,000 to introduce the permits. How long before taxpayers are yet again paying for an expensive white elephant, when this all ends in tears?
Cllr Michael Jones
(Lab, Bewbush) – Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Community Engagement