THROUGH THE ROOF: Fears that new tip booking system will cause fly-tipping to rise
Long queues at Camp Ground recycling centre in Wrekenton, Image: Chronicle Live
The authority has defended plans that would see residents having to book trips to Gateshead tips amid fears the system will cause illicit dumping to spiral.
The new system, announced by Gateshead Council on Monday, will allow residents to book a time slot for their chosen site, up to two weeks in advance.
The borough says appointments can be “easily” amended or cancelled online.
As things stand people can visit council tips at Campground and Cowen Road on alternate days depending on whether their car registration plates start with odd or even numbers.
This will stop once the booking system has been rolled out next month.
The introduction of the online system follows on from the launch of digital waste permits in July. Since being introduced 88% of these permits have been applied for online.
Coun John McElroy, cabinet member for environment and transport, said that the booking system would help cut queues.
He said: “We know that most people want to dispose of their waste in a responsible way however this can lead to long queues and traffic issues. We’re always looking to improve our customer experience and we believe that a booking system will make it easier for residents to visit our Campground and Cowen Road sites.”
However, some residents aren’t convinced, saying that it will cause fly-tipping to increase and make life difficult for those without the internet.
On the authority’s Facebook page one wrote: “The old system worked perfectly fine. Fly tipping will go through the roof again!”
Another said: “It excludes people who aren’t comfortable using IT which could potentially lead to more fly-tipping.”
One resident wrote: “How can we predict when [we’re] having a tidy up in [the] garden or house?”
This was backed up by Liberal Democrat leader Coun Jonathan Wallace.
He said: “The current system seemed to be working – I don’t understand why this is being changed – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
“The moment you start making disposal of waste more difficult fly-tipping starts to increase, and that comes out of the tax payer’s pocket.”
A Gateshead Council spokeswoman said that queues from motorists waiting to get into local tips are putting the road network under strain.
She added: “Over the last two years demand for our household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) has increased significantly which, at peak times, has created queues with long waiting times and has had a negative impact on the local road network.
“We’ve received a number of complaints, not only from residents who have had to queue for long periods but also from local businesses/residents affected by the resulting traffic.
“We have also received numerous complaints about the odd/evens system introduced to reduce the number of vehicles on site for social distancing.
“The online booking system will make it easier for our residents to visit our Household Waste and Recycling Centres but for anyone unable to book online appointments will still be available by ringing our customer services. Many other local authorities have introduced a similar system, which has proved beneficial for their residents, and by having a booking system we are able to ensure our HWRCs serve the people of Gateshead rather than people from across the region.”
Words: Herbert Soden, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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