Nearly 24,000 people sign up to Surrey’s waste app
Nearly 24,000 people have signed up to a free smartphone scheme that helps to prevent Surrey residents forking out £1 million a year to dispose of trade waste. Surrey County Council developed its own BlackBerry application for a van and trailer permit scheme that aims to stop trade waste being dumped at community recycling centres for free. At the time it was believed to be the first council to use a smartphone to record visits.
Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Environment Dr Lynne Hack said: “The scheme has proved popular because local taxpayers know it’s making sure they won’t be footing the bill for waste they don’t produce.
“It’s so important that we harness the latest technology to make our services more efficient and benefit local taxpayers and the app we developed in-house is a great example of that.”
Since the app was launched around 18 months ago nearly 24,000 residents have registered to help the council prevent trade waste being dumped when its disposal should be paid for.
They have made around 34,000 visits to Surrey’s CRCs to recycle waste.
The app allows staff at the council’s 15 community recycling centres (CRCs) to immediately check registered vehicles on a secure database of vans, pick up trucks and vehicles with large trailers.
Under the scheme, drivers of vans or trailers not registered on the database at residential addresses in Surrey or motorists trying to dispose of trade waste are being sent to a weigh station, where they are charged.
Research has shown that when no trade waste controls are in place up to 13% of rubbish being dumped at CRCs could be classed as trade waste.
In Surrey, this equates to up to 18,000 tonnes, costing local taxpayers about £1m a year or more than £80,000 a month.
CRC staff check details by keying in vehicle registration information and the permit number.
Residents who only own a trade van can still dispose of household waste but a record of the type of waste they take to CRCs will be kept.
For more details about the scheme, go to www.surreycc.gov.uk/vanpermits.
There are four waste stations for businesses to use in Surrey – at Shepperton, Epsom, Guildford and Leatherhead.