High permit fees blamed for Merton skip-hire business loss


Rogue removers are stealing business from licensed waste disposal companies due to costly Merton Council fees.


By Christian Crowther, Sean Bourke, Almaz Ohene, Rebecca Felgate

Rogue removers are stealing business from licensed waste disposal companies due to costly Merton Council fees.

Skip-hire companies are blaming the decline in business on steep permit fees set by the council which can add around £140 to the overall hire costs. 

As a result, people are turning to quick-fix solutions from unlicensed collectors.  

Dan from Select A Skip, who operate in the borough, said: “The problem is that Joe Public doesn’t really care where their waste ends up, all they are worried about is getting rid of it for the cheapest price.”

Licensed disposal companies adhere to strict environmental standards in regards to the safe disposal of all manner of waste.

These items can include stripped kitchens as well as notifiable waste such as fridges and gas canisters.  

Steve Watkins of Taurus, who have over 30 years of waste management experience, said customers should investigate the legitimacy of their removers and be aware of illegal fly tipping.

To date, the council does not have a list of approved skip hire companies, making it easier for unlicensed disposal companies to be hired.

Mr Watkins said that he knows of so-called removers who find quiet streets or car parks to dump the removed waste.

These illegal traders are damaging to companies like Taurus who have to abide by rules and regulations and spend money on license to dispose of items safely.

He said: “They can’t do it; it’s as simple as that.  If they are caught they should be strung up.” 

Fly tipping is prevalent in the borough, and is regularly reported to Merton Council.

Marcus Grant, manager of Clarks, said just this morning there was a large amount of waste placed next to his Wimbledon shoe store, despite clear warning signs.  

Mr Grant said: “Despite the council’s efforts, there is no way of stopping people.”

Mr Watkins believes that the only solution to tackle illegitimate disposal is for the council to lower the cost of skip hiring permits. 

Unfortunately, however, the landfill tax increases each year which has to be passed on to customers hiring skips.

A Merton Council spokesman said: “We have seen a reduction in the incidents of flytipping in Merton over the last year and have flytipping hotspots that we are working to tackle through enforcement action.”

Anyone who commits a flytipping offence could face both a six month prison sentence and a fine of up to £50,000.


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