Van drivers will now have to pay to dispose of waste at Harrow's only tip.

Previously van drivers have been allowed three free tips per year at the Waste, Refuse and Recycling Centre in Forward Drive, Wealdstone, however that is set to stop after a series of incidents in which staff have been threatened by van drivers who refuse to pay after their third annual visit.

Staff at the tip have been threatened with a shotgun, and one thug even stripped to the waist challenging the staff to a fight.

The decision was made by Harrow Council's Conservative administration, who faced criticism by Labour leader David Perry who said his party was 'opposed to these unnecessary and unfair charges'.

Labour attempted to derail the move by demanding a call-in committee scrutinise the decision on the grounds that it was made without consultation.

Tory leader of the council Susan Hall said at the meeting, held on Tuesday: "I am disgusted that this has been brought to the call-in committee."

 

The council believe that by introducing charges, staff will be better protected against violent van drivers who claim they have not yet used their three free tips for the year.

Last month staff were equipped with lapel cameras so incidents would be recorded so the footage could be used in potential prosecutions.

Ms Hall added: "We have got to protect our staff. The threats of violence they are facing are very real.

"The police have been called to the site more times than anywhere else because we have a nasty few residents who are absolutely terrorising our staff."

Car drivers will still be allowed to dump household waste free of charge, and disabled people in vans will be given special dispensation.

Labour's councillor Graham Henson, who represented the councillors who asked for the call-in at the meeting, said: "You are punishing every van driver in Harrow because of a few."

Mr Henson also said the council had failed to be 'open, honest and transparent' in making the decision, however Ms Hall said that the threats against the staff made it an 'emergency situation' which requires urgent action.

The committee upheld the decision to introduce fees at the tip, despite concerns that it will lead to an increase in fly tipping in the borough.

Van drivers disposing waste at the site will now be classified as ‘trade waste’ in the existing pricing scheme.

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