Northampton's bulky waste service is the dearest in the county

Fly-tipping outside the Cowper factory in August 2018.
Fly-tipping outside the Cowper factory in August 2018.

A service that collects large items of waste in Northampton is the dearest in the county - but councillors are looking to rectify this.

Northampton Borough Council's bulky waste collection service was found to be the dearest in Northamptonshire, according to figures compiled by the BBC Shared Data Investigation Unit.

At the moment the borough council will collect three large household items such as mattresses and fridges for £25, an average of £8.30 an item.

East Northamptonshire’s is £3.90 (£27.50 for seven items), Kettering’s is £4.20 (£25 for six items), Daventry’s is £5.50 (£16.38 for three items), South Northamptonshire’s is £5.70 (£34 for six items), Wellingborough’s is £7.30 (£36.60 for five items) and Corby's is £2.30 (£23 for 10 items).

Across the country fifteen councils offer a free collection service (Charnwood, Croydon, Hillingdon, Hyndburn, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Merton, North Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Oxford, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest).

This comes months after online permits were put in place to limit trips by vans and trailers to household waste centres just six per year in Northampton.

Research found that there was a postcode lottery on charges, with a big north-south divide. The most expensive rate was in Waverley in the south east, who charge £44 to collect just one item.

However Northampton Borough Council has set aside £2,500 in its 2019/20 draft budget to reduce the fee from £25 to £15 for a trial period between April and June next year.

This will make the average charge per item £3.30 cheaper at £5.

READ MORE: Bulky waste discount to be trialled in Northampton to combat fly-tipping

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “This is an area people said they wanted us to look at, so that’s precisely what we’ve done.

“As long as it’s agreed by Cabinet as part of our budget-setting process, we will be trialling a new discounted rate, which will enable us to assess the impact this might have on fly-tipping rates and we will obviously then review our options moving forwards. The cost of the new discounted rate is being subsidised directly from money accrued by the council as a result of fixed penalty notices for littering and fly-tipping.

“We’ve also asked the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership to analyse bulky waste collection service use across the county to understand how people use it. This piece of work will help inform our decision-making in the future.”

The proposals will go out for consultation as part of the overall budget, which also includes a maximum 2.99 per cent rise in council tax for residents.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Some councils were able to provide free garden and bulky waste services when they were first introduced but are now having to charge to reflect the growing cost of providing a collection service.

“Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £3.2 billion in 2019-20.

“Money from garden and bulky waste collection charges goes back into maintaining the service.”