FEARS of a surge in fly-tipping have been voiced after figures revealed the Highlands to be one of the most expensive places in Scotland to dispose of bulky rubbish.
An Inverness councillor believes there is a danger that some people who cannot afford to pay will resort to dumping their rubbish anywhere out of desperation.
Cash-strapped Highland Council increased its collection fees by 10 per cent last year in a bid to boost its coffers.
The council charges just over £22 to pick up three items, such as unwanted beds and sofas. This rises to more than £44 for up to six items, with the costs making the Highlands the fourth most expensive place in the country for a local authority uplift – behind South Ayrshire, Angus and Stirling.
Inverness South Councillor Duncan Macpherson is calling for a more creative approach to the problem, amid fears people might be tempted to bypass the system altogether and dump their bulky waste outdoors.
“I would hate to see our countryside and paths clogged up with rubbish just because a collection cost may be prohibitive and people may not be able to pay,” he said.
“We really need to be sensible in how we approach it. What I would like to see is people who no longer have need of, say, a bed and then think ‘£22 for a collection, no way can I pay that’ are able to be directed elsewhere.
“For example, Blythswood and New Start Highland are superb organisations and they will come and uplift items that are of use to them.
“We need to be more creative and some local authorities are very good at managing waste and dealing with those who are fly-tipping.”
Highland Council has been battling to reduce both the volume of waste it has to deal with and the cost of sending most of it to landfill.
“A review enabled the council to reduce the time taken to process bulky uplift requests, to cut down the number of calls coming in and to improve the bulky uplift service for customers through the introduction of an online booking service,” said a council spokeswoman.
“The changes have resulted in £57,000 savings being delivered.”