A clampdown on illegal rubbish disposal could be launched in the north-east – and some residents would need permits.
Aberdeenshire Council said business waste accounts for up to 20% of material left at its recycling centres, despite it being illegal for firms to dispose of waste there.
In a proposed change designed to save the council around £500,000 a year, extra checks would be carried out at recycling centres.
Traders would be turned away from recycling centres and sent to council waste transfer stations at Banchory, Ellon and Macduff.
Residents using business vehicles would have to get a permit before visiting recycling centres.
The permits would be free and people can get up to a year’s worth at once.
They would be needed for vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight, as well as tippers, tractors, large trailers and vehicles with twin wheels or more than four wheels.
The council’s view is that taxpayers are in effect subsidising traders as the council has to pay for their illegal disposal of waste.
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A council spokesman said: “Currently, as much as 20% of the waste taken to recycling centres is thought to be business waste which should not be there.
“Disposal of business waste by these means is thought to be costing Aberdeenshire taxpayers around £500,000 a year – money which could be better spent improving recycling services for households.”
The council’s waste manager Ros Baxter said: “The permit system is simply designed to address the fact some households use commercial-type vehicles.
“We understand this and they will be able to use the services in the same way as other members of their community, with a permit which shows staff they are entitled.
“In the past we have seen situations where staff are put in a difficult position where they suspect someone disposing of materials at a recycling centre is linked to a business but cannot prove this.
“The permit system will avoid any confusion and will make it perfectly clear that only household materials are permitted to be disposed of at our HRCs.”
The council is consulting councillors and area committees – starting with Formartine Area Committee at its meeting on Tuesday.
A report to that meeting said: “The proposed arrangements are planned to be implemented in early 2020.”