By the end of this month, Borders businesses will be charged up to £875 a year to dispose of trade waste, giving rise to fears of increased fly-tipping.
The Scottish Borders Council permit scheme, introduced in Hawick last week and in Galashiels, at Easter Langlee, on Monday, will be rolled out to Peebles, Eyemouth, Duns and Kelso by the end of this month.
Two licences are available to businesses – a standard permit costing £340 a year for the disposal of paper, cardboard, cans, plastics, scrap metal and wood; and a green, construction and recycling permit costing £875 annually for the additional disposal of green waste, rubble, soil and stones.
At last week’s full council meeting, Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said he had been approached by several businesses worried about the financial impact of the scheme.
“They are concerned and want to know if these charges will be reviewed,” said Mr Marshall, who was also seeking reassurance the scheme would not result in more fly-tipping across the region.
“Businesses have a duty to store, transport and dispose of their business waste without harming the environment,” said Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson, also executive member for environmental services.
“Opening recycling centres to small traders provides a cost-effective and legislatively-compliant means of achieving this, while ensuring the council recovers its costs.
“The majority of Scottish councils already allow traders access to their recycling centres, and there is clear evidence of a demand for the service in the Borders.”
Mr Paterson conceded the permit scheme was “not without risk” but added: “Fly-tipping is an illegal activity which carries fines of up to £40,000 or imprisonment.”