Council bins skip scheme

Thrown out: Blackpool Council has abandoned its skip hire scheme, says Coun Amy Cross (below)
Thrown out: Blackpool Council has abandoned its skip hire scheme, says Coun Amy Cross (below)
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A controversial skip hire scheme has been mothballed by Blackpool Council after just three months.

The service, launched in August, was designed to provide a cheap alternative to private skips in order to combat fly-tipping.

Coun Amy Cross

Coun Amy Cross

The scheme, which saw the council purchase skips and lease a wagon, has cost the authority £30,000, sparking concern among councillors and local skip hire businesses.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said: “I was suspicious of the service from day one, I never saw a business plan, I didn’t think there was a demand.

“I am still not satisfied that the full story is out yet and I think there’s more to this than meets the eye.”

There was also outrage among skip hire businesses when the scheme was announced and fears that the service could effectively “wipe out” private sector competition by offering subsidised skips to residents.

Owen Baguley, of Owen Baguley Skip Hire said: “It would be funny if it wasn’t such a waste of money.

“They’ve acted irresponsibly, the council hadn’t done their home-work.

“The council didn’t know what they were doing and they’ve wasted money, it’s a real mess and I would insist on a full and transparent public inquiry.”

But Amy Cross, cabinet member for the environment at Blackpool Council, said a new scheme is now being considered in place of the skip hire plan.

She added: “After trialling the scheme for three months I am not satisfied that it is achieving what it set out to do, therefore we will no longer be hiring skips to members of the public.

“Fly-tipping is huge issue in Blackpool and we are committed to doing all that we can to make residents dispose of their waste in a sensible way.

“The commercial waste team often tests different ideas and although the skip hire scheme only operated for three months we now have a relationship with private skip firms that didn’t exist previously.”

Proposals for this new scheme are set to see the council organise occasional clean-up days in different areas of Blackpool, where a private firm delivers a skip and residents can dump waste in it.

Full details are still being finalised and will be announced at a later date.

Andy Gillett, of Lytham St Annes Skip Hire, is leading the new partnership between the council and local skip firms. He said: “We’ve floated the idea of a waste amnesty in troubled areas, where we come on board and do a service for the council at a discounted rate.

“Hopefully, together, we’ll solve the issue of fly-tipping, the council will notify the area involved and then contact the local skip firm and we’ll work together.”