'Great solution' - How councillors aim to reduce Hartlepool's bulky waste collection waiting times
An expanded bulky waste collection service aims to both reduce waiting times and tackle fly-tipping issues.
Hartlepool Borough Council currently offers a bulky waste collection scheme where three items can be collected for £20.
This is also discounted to £10 for people on benefits.
The council’s finance and policy committee has now approved a self-funded extension of the scheme for a further 12 months, which will see additional staff recruited, initially on suitable fixed-term contracts, to support the service.
This will double the number of weekly paid collections slots and reduce the waiting times associated with requests for bulky waste removals, according to officers.
The council also hopes the scheme will reduce fly-tipping incidents – which more than doubled during the initial lockdown when collections stopped.
Cllr John Tennant, chair of the neighbourhood services committee, said: “This recommendation is the best we can offer with regards to bulky waste.
“We can offer more bulky waste collections than we would normally and also that there is a discount for people on benefits.”
Cllr Amy Prince added she thought it was a great solution for residents in Hartlepool and would create jobs.
She said: “I really love the fact that we’re hopefully going to be creating more employment for the town, it’s a suitable solution, we need more employment, and to be able to offer a quicker service, I just think it’s great.”
As part of the scheme residents can also have one mattress collected for £7.50.
The bulky waste collection scheme previously ceased in March 2020 due to Covid-19.
Council officers noted in July 2020 that the number of fly-tipping cases reported was 443, a rise from 176 in March.
However in August, following the reintroduction of the scheme, there was an immediate impact with a significant reduction in fly-tipping incidents, dropping to 294 cases, which continued right through to December, which saw only 148.
Mr Hanson added the demand for the current bulky waste collection service outstrips supply, with waiting lists for collections up to three weeks.
He said: “By doubling the number of slots available for residents to access 12 months of the year at a cost, it is likely to be more sustainable, self-financing and have a greater impact on reducing the number of fly-tipping cases.”
He added he hopes collections will be able to be carried out within a week following the introduction of the expanded scheme.
Council officers said findings show a large proportion of bulky waste fly-tipping is done by a small number of waste collectors who charge to take rubbish off people.
This shows residents are used to paying to dispose of the rubbish, they just want it done a lot quicker than the council can currently provide and support, officers said.
Yet they found it would only assist residents who happen to have bulky waste items ready for collection at that particular point, and would not be a “sustainable option for addressing cases of fly-tipping”.