Councillors in the London borough of Newham recently approved the return of free bulky waste collections.
The current cost of £20 was introduced in April 2016. Mariam Dawood was one of the councillors who put forward a motion calling for free collections, allowing households three pick ups of up to six items per year.
She said: “When we walk about our local area we see mattresses and pieces of furniture littered across the street. We understand that this is a serious issue which has a real negative impact on day to day lives.
“This issue wasn’t just a concern for the look of the borough, but for residents’ health and safety. There are instances where mattresses left out have caused bed bug infestations in several households.
“The motion doesn’t claim to resolve the entire issue of fly tipping but it will provide relief to an issue which is out of control.
“Limiting the number of free collections also means that it is difficult for a small number of individuals to take advantage of a service, as was happening in the borough when there was a free service previously.
“Free collection services give residents a greater incentive to have their bulky waste collected safely, rather than dump it on the street and put others at risk. They provide the council with the opportunity to prosecute the malicious fly tippers, rather than those who simply cannot afford or access an inefficient and out of date system.
“The percentage of bulky waste collection service requests dropped by 76 per cent once the charge was introduced in 2016. Corresponding with this, the amount of fly tipping also increased. It is common sense that much of the bulky waste items that would have been collected appeared on our streets.
“Croydon, who reintroduced the free service, argued that free collections could end up paying for themselves by reducing the existing money spent on sending out vans collecting fly tipping.
“Newham’s neighbouring local authorities of Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Redbridge are all seeing the benefits of introducing free bulky waste collection services. Residents felt it was unfair that Newham, which has one of the worst rates of fly-tipping, was charged for bulky waste while those living in neighbouring boroughs did not have to pay for collections.”