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Business owner points blame at recycling centre for fly-tipping in Frome

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The problem of fly-tipping around Frome could be the fault of the Frome Recycling Centre, according to a local businessman who was refused permission to drop off a fridge because he was driving a van.

Managing director of Keyford Precision Engineering Ltd, Steve Denmead, says that he was turned away from the centre as he did not have a permit for the company van he used to transport the fridge.

He says that as the fridge is not classified as trade waste, he should have been allowed to recycle the fridge at the centre, regardless of the mode of transport it was brought in.

Steve explained, “I have just tried to take an old fridge to the recycling centre in Frome. This was used in our canteen and had stopped working, so thought it best we recycled it.

“The fridge was too large to put in my car, so I used the company van to take it to the recycling centre. When I got there I explained the situation to one of the members of staff, but was refused entry because I had no permit for the van.

“He also asked which county I lived in. I explained that my home address is in Wiltshire, but my business address in Frome. This is where the fridge came from. He said that as I lived in Wiltshire I should not be using a site in Somerset.

“I pay huge amounts of business rates for my premises in Frome and I feel I should be allowed to recycle non-trade waste at the site without the requirement of a permit. The only reason I used the van was because it was too big for my car.

“I presume if I had wheeled it around the corner on a set of sack trucks they would have allowed me in. Absolutely crazy.

“This was a one-off trip to recycle something that was not trade waste, just a fridge. Surely the point of monitoring the recycling centre is to check what is being recycled, not what it’s brought in. What bearing does that have on the item being recycled?

“I subsequently took this to the recycling centre in Trowbridge where I had no issue at all. Maybe the staff at Frome should stop being a jobsworth and use a little bit of common sense.

“And we wonder why fly tipping is so bad locally!”

In response, a Somerset Waste Partnership spokesperson said, “Somerset recycling sites are paid for by Somerset residents, not by Somerset businesses or by residents from other counties.

“They cannot be used by residents of other counties to bring in trailer-loads of waste or single fridges in vans, as only people with Somerset addresses can get a van or trailer permit. By targeting users from outside the county, the permit system has been a great success in cutting the amount of waste entering Somerset sites, thus saving council taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds so far, and easing the congestion of 1.6 million visits a year.

“Our recycling sites can only take household waste at no cost (materials for which there are charges, such as tyres or rubble are those that are not legally classified as household waste). Businesses have to pay to use our sites, and can only use those 10 sites – including Frome – that have a licence from the Environment Agency to take commercial waste. That special arrangement for 10 Somerset sites both cuts fly-tipping and helps small and medium businesses drop off waste, especially tradespeople criss-crossing the county from job to job.

“As a businessperson taking business waste – what he said was ‘a fridge from my works premises’ – to a Somerset recycling site, the person complaining would need to pay for its disposal as many other businesses already do.

“Both the permit scheme, which has been working well since 2016 with thousands of users, and paid-for business waste at recycling sites, which has operated successfully at a growing range of sites for even longer – at Frome since 2014 – have been well publicised. This information is available on our website at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk, or from Somerset Direct on either somersetdirect@somerset.gov.uk or 0300 123 2224.

“We regret that the person complaining did not know how our permit and business waste systems operate, and that staff at Frome Recycling Centre were not able to fully explain this.”

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