A bulky waste collection “menu” could be introduced by Sunderland City Council, allowing residents to pay separate charges for different items.
Last month, Sunderland City Council confirmed it would review bulky waste charges as it faces around £12million being cut from service spending next year.
As part of the draft 2019/20 revenue budget, a review of charges for bulky waste collection could draft in an extra £15,000.
At last night’s Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee, Head of Place Management on the council Mark Speed, said planned changes could make some collections cheaper.
Currently the council has a standard charge of £20 for up to eight items, with a three-piece suite counting as three and a dining table and four chairs counting as five.
The proposals, revealed at Sunderland Civic Centre this week, aim to provide more flexibility for Sunderland residents.
“What we’re looking to do with bulky waste is introduce almost a menu, at the moment we have one set price no matter what we’re actually picking up,” he said.
“It’s eight items and in some cases you turn up and they have eight black bags of rubbish and on another occasion it could be a settee and fridge, big bulky items.
“What we’re looking to do is set a price difference for the different types of items and that’s because of the different resources we have to send to collect those.
“It’s not that we’re bringing in an additional charge, in fact we might make some of the collections cheaper.
“I’m not guaranteeing that because the review is under way and we’re under massive pressure financially but that’s what the plan is around bulky waste collections.”
He added that similar schemes had been introduced in South Tyneside and Gateshead which “hadn’t been over controversial”.
Coun Niall Hodson welcomed the scheme but questioned whether there was a link between fly-tipping and bulky waste charges.
“How do we ensure that people are willing to pay more without having a negative impact on more items being dumped or more people going to unlicensed waste services,” he asked.
Mark Speed, responding, added: “I can’t make an absolute link between the two things, when we introduced bulky waste charges it hasn’t led to an abundance of fly-tipping.
“This charge was put in and it’s not like it’s absolutely spiked, we have a problem nationally and a problem with fly-tipping more but linking the two together isn’t that easy in terms of bringing the stats together.”
The bulky waste proposals are subject to further details in the government’s financial settlement for councils which is due to be released this month.
Firmer proposals are set to be made in the new year, when the council decides its final budget in March 2019.
• Our Clean Streets campaign is calling on Wearsiders to take more care of their personal waste and dispose of rubbish in bins or the nearest tip.
The outcome will mean a cleaner, more welcoming space for us all to work, live and socialise in. Anyone who sees items they think have been fly-tipped can contact Sunderland City Council to arrange its removal either by emailing
sunderland.gov.uk or calling 0191 520 5550.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service