Crackdown on out-of-county waste recycling ‘tourists’


SOMERSET is to take steps to discourage waste ‘tourists’.

Visitors from areas not covered by Somerset Waste Partnership – including Bath & North East Somerset, Devon, Dorset, North Somerset, Wiltshire and other council areas ­­– will find it far harder to use the 16 recycling sites in Somerset from Monday, October 3rd.

To deter a rising tide of visits from other counties, new steps to cut congestion, improve services and maintain safety at recycling sites are being taken.

Under new measures, vans, pick-ups and small single-axle trailers using recycling sites must have a free permit that is only available to Somerset residents.

And the largest vans and trailers, horse boxes and tractors, and trailers towed by pick-ups or vans, will be excluded from Somerset recycling sites.

Vans up to 3.5 tonnes, pick-ups, and trailers of up to three metres floor length towed by cars can use them with a permit. Trailers cannot have a permit to be towed by vans or pick-ups.

In another move to cut congestion, out-of-county visitors, who pay nothing towards waste services, will not be able to apply for a permit.

Drivers of cars, including saloons, estates, 4x4s, people carriers and campervans, will not need a permit and will see no change except less congestion.

A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “These steps will cut queues, limit delays, reduce costs and ensure sites are safe and easy-to-use for Somerset residents.

“Somerset is responding to residents’ demands on queues and site entry controls, and – unusually for us – catching up with other local authorities’ actions to improve waste services.

“All our neighbouring counties and many councils across the UK already have similar restrictions, either based on vehicle size or where customers live.”

Surveys of Somerset residents have shown an 87 per cent satisfaction rating for recycling sites, with a majority wanting controls or bans on large vehicles and visitors from outside the county.

The SWP spokesman added: “This scheme will make a big difference to the problem of recycling site traffic jams caused by large vehicles, many of which are not from Somerset.

“Somerset has a rising population, greater car and van ownership, and an increasing number of visits to recycling sites – more than 1.5 million in 2015-16 – that all contribute to congestion.

“But it is clear that Somerset’s sites are regularly used by out-of-county visitors, who do not contribute to the cost of waste services.

“Our aim is a swift, smooth and safe recycling site visit every time for all Somerset residents; getting many more vehicles out of their way will be a great help.”

With the new measures starting from 8am on October 3rd, and permits taking 10 working days to arrive, frequent recycling site customers should apply now. Less regular visitors need to check the dates and delivery schedule to ensure they have a permit when required.

Applications must be made online at – or via libraries for those without internet access – and need 10 working days for permit processing and delivery.

An SWP spokesman said: “Thousands of people have already applied so anyone needing a permit should go online soon to be sure they have their permit in good time.

“Our aim is a swift, smooth and safe recycling site visit every time for all Somerset residents; getting many more vehicles out of their way will be a great help.”

Residents who acquire vehicles or trailers that need permits after the scheme starts on October 3rd can apply at any time. If all details remain unchanged, permits will be valid for three years.

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