A group of volunteers from Northampton Rotary Club who spent hours tidying up roundabouts at Sixfields were turned away from the nearby tip when they attempted to dispose of the van loads of rubbish they collected.
Rotarian Graham Mortimer said: “For the last 20 years the Rotary Clubs of Northampton have maintained the two mini roundabouts on the un-adopted roads at Sixfields.
“This is not an easy task with the current traffic levels now using the roads, but on Sunday a band of six volunteers started at 7.30am and spent three hours clearing the site to take the rubbish to the Sixfields Tip 100 metres away.
“A senior operative refused us entry on the basis that we were a charity and needed a permit, as it was classed as trade waste.
“We’ve never had a problem in the 20 years that we’ve been doing this.”
The group fell foul of a long-standing rule that the tips, run by Northamptonshire County Council, only accept household waste in amounts a household might produce. Businesses wanting to use the tips have to pay.
The rules exist because commercial outfits have to pay to dispose of their rubbish and waste rather than it being included in the tax they pay, and allowing them into household waste recycling centres for free would effectively cost taxpayers.
A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “In situations such as this, groups are asked to contact their borough or district council to arrange a collection for this type of waste.
“Unfortunately, due to the financial position we are in, we simply cannot afford to take in anything other than household waste free of charge at our household waste recycling centres.
“Last year, the county council paid more than £22 million to dispose of the county’s municipal waste and it is imperative that we bring this cost down, which is why there is a restriction on the types of waste that our household waste recycling centres can accept.”
A spokesperson for Northampton Borough Council said: “We work with lots of community groups on clean ups around the town.
“If we know a community group is organising a clean up we can help by supplying waste sacks and litter picking kits as well as making arrangements for picking up the waste collected.
“We weren’t aware of this clean up, but if the Rotarians are planning on doing another one then we would ask they let us know so we can help.”