Concerns have been raised that plans to stop businesses illegally dumping trade waste at recycling centres could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
Aberdeenshire Council has tabled proposals to ban business waste from its centres, after officers estimated that the taxpayer was footing a £500,000 bill each year to dispose of 10,000 tonnes of it.
The authority wants to ban certain types of commercial vehicle commonly used by businesses, and impose a permit system limiting the number of visits for householders who use commercial vans, minibuses and trailers to deposit waste.
The measure has now been discussed by the Kincardine and Mearns area committee, with members voicing fears about the potential ramifications of the policy.
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor, Sarah Dickinson, said: “The feedback I’ve had from some people is that they feel that 12 permits – one per month – is not going to be sufficient for them.
“There may well be good reasons what that would be the case, and that it’s all perfectly legitimate household waste.”
She also questioned the long distances businesses would have to travel to take waste to the three waste transfer stations, in Ellon, Banchory and Macduff.
Mearns councillor, George Carr, asked for the policy to be kept as “simple and practical” as possible, and warned that a hard-line approach could lead to fly-tipping.
Mr Carr said: “We’re trying to encourage the public to recycle and reuse and I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we need to be with this whole subject.
“The tone of this paper is ‘you will do, you will do’, and what a lot of the public will do is dump stuff.
“We’re seeing a whole burn in the Mearns full of tyres and stuff dumped at the side of the road.
“We’ve got to be willing to receive all types of waste and deal with it effectively.”
The council’s principal waste officer, Ian Milne, argued that fly-tipping was “not a new phenomenon” and said he did not expect to see it rise.
He said: “Most law-abiding citizens don’t fly-tip, so we don’t anticipate that there’s going to be a great increase in fly-tipping.”
Councillors have called for more information to be brought before the council’s infrastructure services committee, which will make a final decision on the new policy.
Under the new proposals, homeowners would still enjoy unlimited access to recycling centres when using cars, MPVs, 4x4s or hire vans.
Mr Milne said: “Business waste is an issue at recycling centres because it causes congestion and takes away space for recyclable materials.
“Business waste costs around £500,000 a year for disposal and this is paid for by taxpayers.”