Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Council faces £8,250 charge for permit to store business waste

AN illegal site for storing rubbish from Henley’s retailers could soon be authorised.

Henley Town Council is to seek permission from the Environment Agency for a waste transfer station at its depot near Tesco, off Reading Road, where it has been keeping trade waste unlawfully since July.

Members have agreed to pay £8,256 for a bespoke environmental permit, which is required as the depot is within 200m of a workplace.

The council will also have to pay a yearly subsistence fee of £1,030 for waste stored prior to recycling.

It will also have to commission a specialist risk assessment and provide a written code of management showing how it will prevent pollution and a fire prevention plan as well as proving it is competent to store the waste.

The site would handle less than 5,000 tonnes of waste per year. The council will also require planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council.

Councillors agreed to seek advice from Grundon and Biffa, which also collects commercial waste in the town, and report regularly to its waste working group.

In a report to councillors, town clerk Janet Wheeler said: “This is a major commitment for Henley Town Council and the costs in the area of expertise needed are largely unknown.

“However, the streets need to be clear and the litter problem is likely to get worse next summer when the town once again hosts internationally acclaimed events such as the regatta and the many festivals.

“There are no short cuts and if we go ahead with this project it must be done properly. Appropriate allowance for additional costs would therefore need to be built into the budget.”

The problem began when contractor Grundon Waste Management switched its town centre collections from the evenings to the mornings, leaving scores of full rubbish sacks on the streets overnight.

Concerned about the impact on the night-time economy, the council arranged for these to be moved to the depot by another contractor for Grundon to collect the next day.

Grundon then agreed to re-start evening collections but only to move rubbish to the Reading Road site.

However, the Environment Agency then said the storage of waste was unlawful.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who chairs the waste working group, said: “I didn’t want to be in the position of applying for a waste permit and would rather be able to get rubbish off the streets without it. 

“However, if we don’t go ahead with this there are only three options.

“Firstly, the bags could just go back out on the streets at 5pm and stay out overnight. Alternatively, Grundon could collect the bags at 2.30pm but that’s in the middle of the trading day and therefore completely impractical.

“The waste transfer station is the only other possibility and the town clerk and I will investigate fully what is required. We hope to complete the process fairly quickly.

“The Environment Agency is supportive of what we’re doing and recognises that it is more hygienic to have these bags in a sealed metal container than out on the streets all night.”

The agency says it accepts the council “had the right intentions” and is happy to help it comply with the law.

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