Concerns have been raised over a local authority’s plan to clamp down on business waste being disposed of at north-east recycling centres.
Aberdeenshire Council is consulting with area committees on a new recycling centre policy in a bid to save around £500,000 a year.
A report to councillors at the Kincardine and Mearns area committee 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 move that could begin next year, extra checks would be carried out at recycling centres – and residents who use business vehicles, but are disposing of household waste would have to get a permit. The permits would be free and people will be given 12 vehicle permits for a year that can be used at any time.
However, councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee have raised fears that 12 permits won’t be enough for those who need them.
Concerns have also been raised that tradespeople will have to travel long distances with only three centres in Aberdeenshire at Banchory, Ellon and Macduff accepting business waste.
Councillor Colin Pike, who represents North Kincardine, said: “We should be working with organisations and the staff to find out what they think of this new policy.
“I would like to see a trial at one of the centres to see how it works as I think we need to stop and look at this more objectively at how it will all work.”
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Councillor Sarah Dickinson, who represents Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said: “I’m broadly comfortable with this policy as we do need to try and get more people to recycle.
“However, I have had some feedback from constituents that only having 12 permits isn’t going to be sufficient.”
Mearns councillor George Carr said: “I don’t think we are anywhere near where we need to be with this.
“I would like to see more engagement done with businesses before this paper comes to the infrastructure services committee.”
Traders would be turned away from recycling centres and sent to council waste transfer stations at Banchory, Ellon and Macduff.
Permits will 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.
Ross Baxter, waste manager at Aberdeenshire Council, 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.”