Supermarkets will be charged £65 for the collection of abandoned shopping trolleys after Northampton Borough Council agreed the fee last night (January 17).
In a bid to drastically reduce the number of trolleys found out and about, the council implemented the charge after a consultation with residents, businesses and supermarkets.
The consultation, held over December, showed 79 per cent of 192 responses were in favour of the proposal, but it has not been universally welcomed.
Forty-five of the responses suggested that focus should fall instead onto those who steal the trolleys, a position agreed on by local resident David Huffadine-Smith, who told councillors at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting to ‘be more creative’.
He said: “It seems to me that you are chasing the victim and not the perpetrators. They have already suffered loss and it seems thoroughly unfair to me. Could you not be a bit more imaginative and creative and refer it back to the officer to have another look?”
But cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Mike Hallam, said he felt the response from residents had been ‘very clear’ that supermarkets should take responsibility of the situation.
He said: “I believe it is fair because there’s lots of supermarkets already that utilise technology to ensure that the trolleys don’t leave the premises. This policy is not a slur against the supermarkets, but it is to encourage them to utilise the technology out there to stop this.”
He was backed by deputy leader, Councillor Phil Larratt, who said: “There’s a major supermarket in my ward where it uses technology to lock up the wheels if they go beyond a certain point, and the problem of abandoned trolleys has disappeared since they put that into place.”
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons were the two supermarkets who responded to the proposals, with Sainsbury’s challenging the £65 fee, saying that other councils with similar policies had been charging under £40.
Morrisons meanwhile indicated that it anticipated a system will be installed later this year to ‘significantly reduce’ trolley loss. In the meantime, it would continue to collect trolleys.
Councillor Hallam said the charge, which will be implemented on May 1, would send a message that the borough council has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to littering and fly-tipping.