Call to tweak plans for ID checks at West Sussex rubbish tips

A West Sussex rubbish tip
A West Sussex rubbish tip

Councillors have asked West Sussex County Council to rethink plans for people to have to show two forms of ID before they can dump their rubbish.

The idea is being considered in an attempt to reduce costs and congestion, particularly at amenity tips close to the boundary, such as East Grinstead, Shoreham, Crawley, Burgess Hill and Billingshurst.

If approved, the scheme would start on December 1 and anyone visiting the county’s 11 tips would have to show photo ID such as a driving licence, plus a recent utility bill or current council tax bill.

While some members of the environment, communities and fire select committee had no problem with the need for ID to be shown, most were less than impressed with the need to also bring a bill.

Chairman Andrew Barrett-Miles said he tended to throw away his council tax bill and felt it was ‘unnecessary’ to make people present them.

He added: “The majority of us have the new plastic driving licences with our pictures on – and they have our addresses on – and I would think that is perfectly adequate.”

Dr James Walsh (Lib Dem, Littlehampton East) felt that, rather than reducing congestion, the ID checks would lead to hold-ups.

He was also not convinced by officers’ claims that the scheme would save the council £250k per year in disposal costs.

He added: “I think we are taking a hammer to crack an egg.”

Officers reported that some 10 per cent of people who used West Sussex tips lived in other counties – and said the saving predicted was actually ‘on the conservative side’.

The meeting was told that there had been an increase in the amount of soil and hardcore dumped at the Shoreham and East Grinstead sites since East Sussex introduced charging for such items.

It was a similar story at the Billingshurst and Horsham sites after Surrey County Council changed what it would accept at the Cranleigh tip.

Answering concerns that the ID checks would lead to an increase in flytipping – which the district and borough councils would have to pay to clear – officers acknowledged that there was always a ‘blip’ when policy changes were introduced.

Members were told: “The experience of this kind of thing is that generally it’s a short-lived peak and will settle down.”

Members also pointed out that there would need to be suitable turning space at the entrance to the tips so that drivers who were refused entry would have enough room to leave the site without holding up the queue.

The final decision will be taken by Deborah Urquhart, cabinet member for environment, who said she would look again at the need for two forms of ID.