Residents are being asked to pay extra to dispose of soil and rubble at West Berkshire’s recycling centres from next month.
As of September 4 new fees will be in place for people wanting to get rid of soil, rubble, plasterboard, ceramic and tyres, which can currently be thrown away for free.
Charges will depend on the amount being disposed of, but range from £2.45 for a 25 litre bag of soil or rubble up to £92.40 for a fully loaded up Transit van.
The items are classified as non-household waste, which West Berkshire Council doesn’t have a statutory obligation to accept for free.
Dominic Boeck, the council’s executive member for environment, said: “Non-household waste items are expensive to dispose of and this contribution by residents will enable us to continue to provide this service rather than withdrawing it completely.
“The charges are non-profit making and will provide a good value, accessible service for our residents.
“Other neighbouring council-run facilities have already introduced charges to dispose of occasional non-household waste.”
A fenced area with the relevant disposal containers for these items will be set up at West Berkshire’s two recycling centres at Newtown Road in Newbury and at Padworth.
However concerns have been raised that the new fees could lead to an increase in fly-tipping by people who are unwilling to pay.
Alan Macro, deputy leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group, has set up a petition calling for the charges to be scrapped.
He said: “The charges are mainly for people doing DIY work who are trying to save money, and then they’re going to be hit by a charge to get rid of bits of rubble, the old toilet bowl or whatever.
“Rather than having to drive to the nearest recycling centre and then pay, some might be tempted to tip it on the nearest bit of open ground, which will cost money when the council or landowner have to come along and clear it up.
“The other feedback I got was ‘what am I paying my council tax for?’. People in the east of the area already have to drive all the way to Newbury to get rid of household waste, and now they’re being charged as well.
“It does seem a bit iniquitous to be honest.”
Only debit or credit card payment will be accepted, and residents also have to bring their permit along to enter the recycling centre in the first place.
Household waste will still be accepted without charge.
To view the charges, go to info.westberks.gov.uk/hwrccharges. The petition can be found at tinyurl.com/y83k35cc.