28 December 2023End to recycling site charges for some DIY waste

Somerset residents will soon be able to dispose of some DIY waste free of charge at Somerset recycling sites – but they will need to book ahead.

Following a recent change of legislation, from 1 January 2024, current charges for disposing of construction and demolition materials including: asbestos, plasterboard, hardcore and rubble from household DIY projects will be removed.

Each calendar month every household will be able to bring up to eight, 50 litre sacks (or equivalent 2m sheets of asbestos or plasterboard) free of charge to a recycling site over a maximum of four visits in a month. For example, two visits bringing four bags each time, or a single visit bringing eight bags.

Households will need to pre-book trips to dispose of this DIY waste, telling the council:

  • the amount of material they are disposing (up to 8x50 litre sacks per month)
  • the number of times they will need to visit (up to four visits per month)

If residents need to dispose of asbestos, plasterboard, or hardcore/rubble in excess of their free allowance they can pay for this online through the Somerset Council website.

Should residents need to dispose of asbestos and/or plasterboard before 31 December 2023, they can still do so by paying online using the ‘Do it online’ section. Disposal of hardcore/rubble can be paid for on site until 31 December.

Bookings can be made online from 2 January (through the waste and recycling section of the council’s website). Anyone who cannot access the online form can call Customer Services on 0300 123 2224.

Not all sites accept asbestos and/or plasterboard, residents should check online to find what is accepted at each site.

Free disposal is only available to the Somerset householders. Construction and demolition waste from trade is classified as industrial waste and this is not entitled to any free disposal.

Biffa can accept trade construction and demolition waste (excluding trade asbestos) and a charge is payable to Biffa at the site. Please note not all sites accept plasterboard.

 

28 December 2023Look out for your letter - changes to waste collection days are on the way

‘Look out for your letter’ is the message from Somerset Council as recycling and rubbish collection days change for more than 120,000 households in western parts of the county in February.

New collection routes are being introduced for many homes in the former Sedgemoor and Somerset West and Taunton areas, as well as a small part of South Somerset.

This means many homes in these areas will have a change in collection day from the week beginning Monday 12 February 2024. Changes will be made for the rest of the county later in the year.

Being brought in by the council’s contractor, Suez recycling and recovery UK, the new routes will make rounds more efficient, more manageable for crews whilst reducing mileage and carbon emissions. The changes come at no cost to the council.

Residents may have:

  • a change to collection day
  • a change in the week that their rubbish is collected (it will still be collected once every three weeks)

If a household’s collection days are changing, they will receive a letter in early January making this clear. This will be followed by a service guide - including a collection day calendar - arriving near the end of January. Look out for this and save it for future reference as this will show your new collection day.

If a household does not get a letter at the start of January, there will be no change to collection day, but they will still receive a service guide including collections calendar near the end of the month.

There will be no changes to collection days for garden waste subscribers, clinical waste collections, or communal property collections (with shared collections, such as blocks of flats). Crews will still provide assisted collections.

Some residents having a change of collection may also have an additional one-off Saturday collection of their rubbish on either 10, 17 or 24 February. This will be made clear in the letter they receive at the start of January and is to make sure no-one goes more than three weeks between rubbish collections as crews move to the new routes. If there is no mention of an additional one-off collection of rubbish in the letter then household’s will not need one.

Councillor Dixie Darch, Executive Lead Member for Climate and Environment said: “Look out for your letter and service guide, take note of your collection day. If you don’t receive a letter this means that your day is staying the same.

“The changes will make rounds more efficient and manageable for crews, whilst reducing mileage and carbon emissions. That comes at no cost to the council and will help towards making the county greener and more sustainable.

“Please make a note of your new collection day and possible interim rubbish collection. Crews can’t return for missed collections where bins are not out on the right day.”

Residents with questions about the changes can head to Somerset Council’s website for further information. The online collection day look-up feature will be updated from Monday 12 February.

If residents have downloaded their collection calendar to a smartphone, they will need to do this again after 12 February.

28 December 2023Public consultation on budget setting for Somerset Council

A public consultation on the Somerset Council’s budget has been launched.

It will offer a chance for people to have their say in light of the financial emergency, which was called in November.

It’s open to all, and we are encouraging our Somerset communities, residents, businesses, stakeholders, and partners to take part.

The consultation highlights several discretionary services which could be redesigned, reduced, or even stopped.

It went live from 11 December and will close on 22 January.

The link can be found at: https://somersetcouncil.citizenspace.com/comms/budget-consultation-2024-2025/

It can also be completed in libraries and council offices across Somerset.

The in-year overspend for 2023/24 is £27m.

The projected budget gap for 2024/25 is £100m.

To close the gap and balance the budget next year a series of service reductions, efficiency savings, and increases to fees and charges, including Council Tax, will need to be considered.

It is clear that this alone will not close the budget gap.

Plans to fundamentally change the council's systems and processes to streamline its operations will need to speed up to reduce the size of the council in future.

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