We will be watching you

As ever, Cabinet is one of those meetings on a Councillors monthly calendar that they should attend. The reasons are that most of the major decisions are made by the Cabinet. This is a moot point with a lot of Councillors. It’s also one of the best ways of finding out what decisions are made, and how the debate went. Sometimes (just sometimes) a late amendment to a proposed plan is suggested by a back bench Councillor that is in turn added to the original proposal.

On one of the more interesting and possible contentious items on today’s Agenda was Item 15.  This is the plan to introduce Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in all of the Council’s household’s waste recycling centre, i.e. SITA sites. The Council wants to monitor the use of these centres and to stop the misuse of the sites. The misuse is not the general public who recycle house hold waste, but traders who are not allowed to use these sites to dispose of trade and industrial waste.

It is claimed up to 13% of all waste that goes though these sites is in fact trade waste. This waste generally can not be recycled and ends up in the ground. As you know the Council gets charged to do this. These cameras will monitor those who enter the sites and pick up any cars that are very frequent users. The cost of installing these cameras in all the sites is around £200k

The second part of this recommendation is that all vans and large trailers will be banned from using the sites.  In this scheme all vans and large trailers would be banned unless a permit for their use had been obtained. Permits would be issued to residents if they could show that the vehicle was the only suitable vehicle available to use the site. The applicants would need to show that their waste is not commercial in origin and that their vehicle was not over a given size that would impede the operation on site.

The permit system will be introduced in January 2011 with the camera fitted and in operation by the 1st April 2011. This was passed today at Cabinet with the support of all those Cabinet Members present.

I made the point that stopping the misuse of these sites is all well and good, but would this not encourage and/or increase the likely hood of fly-tipping. I further asked that if this did indeed turn out to be the case would adequate resources be found/directed to stop, and if need be, prosecute offenders. I was told that the Council takes a zero tolerance to fly-tipping and vigorously prosecutes offenders. The trick is catching these offenders if they off load in the middle of the night and away from the likely hood of being seen.

(Click here for full Agenda)

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