Traders using recycling centre slots in West Lothian without paying

Sunday June 11th 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

Rogue traders could restrict access to the already limited times the public will be able to get into West Lothian’s recycling centres to avoid paying for waste disposal, it has been warned

The new restricted hours at community recycling centres (CRC) come into operation in September.

At the last full council meeting SNP Councillor Pauline Orr called for the council to monitor vehicles, suggesting many traders would claim time slots reserved for the public to get in to dump.

Commercial operators have to pay to process their waste. However, the growth of family use of pick-ups and vans makes it easier for traders to masquerade as members of the public, Councillor Orr suggested.

In her motion she said: “We believe that council needs to address the issue of commercial vehicles masquerading as residential vehicles.

“Them taking residential slots in these reduced opening times will greatly affect our constituents’ ability to recycle domestic waste.”

She added: “Many elderly or infirm constituents rely on the goodwill of friends to access our CRC facilities. Restricted access will put a serious strain on goodwill and the council must ensure constituents are not being disadvantaged by these new measures.”

Bathgate SNP councillor Willie Boyle backed up the motion. He said he had been told of issues by CRC staff where traders were using all sites, knowing they could get away with it.

“There’s a big issue around all the CRC sites where staff are aware of commercial users of these sites, but not declaring it as a commercial business.

“They [staff] don’t feel they have the authority to intervene in certain situations and are reluctant to intervene and put themselves in a position where they have to engage directly.

“There seems clearly an issue around using the facilities undeclared. What we are looking for is this to be properly monitored to try and get as fair a system as possible. There’s a lot of room for improvement here and we’d like support from around the chamber to support these issues.”

The SNP motion won cross party support for monitoring of all vehicles using the sites and using the date to establish “an appropriate fee for all vehicles other than unliveried private cars using the sites.”

From September the CRC sites will be open for 144 hours a week – down from 280 – and nine of the 18 staff members will have to be redeployed. A booking system will also be set up for all vehicles attending the sites This can be accessed with on-line or by a phone call to the council’s Contact Centre.

The changes will mean two of the centres- Broxburn and Linlithgow- will only open for one day during the week.

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