Trailers to require a permit for household waste

A permit scheme to cut the number of traders who illegally tip their rubbish is being extended to include trailers as part of a package of changes to the city’s household recycling centres. People who use trailers will soon have to apply for a permit if they want to tip household waste at Chelson Meadow and Weston Mill household waste recycling centres.

In 2002 van permits were introduced to tackle the amount of trade waste that was being brought illegally onto the sites. Vans were banned altogether at the Weston Mill site to reduce traffic congestion and permits introduced at Chelson Meadow.

Now the Council is to further tighten restrictions to crack down on suspected traders who have switched to using trailers to side-step the permit system as well as trade waste legislation.

Throughout April site staff will be speaking to trailer users to explain how the system will work and how to apply for a permit.

Plymouth City Council have provided the following guidelines:

  • In future, owners of trailers up to 1.8 metres (6 feet) long will be allowed to make 12 visits a year.
  • Trailers over 1.8 metres (6 feet) but less than 3 metres (10 feet) long will be allowed to make six tips a year.
  • Trailers over 3 metres (10 feet) will no longer be allowed at Weston Mill or Chelson Meadow recycling centres.

Permits will be allocated for either a van or a trailer but households will not be issued with a permit for both.

The current permit system allows 12 visits a year for small and large vans. Under the new system small vans will still be allowed 12 visits, but the number of visits by large vans will be reduced to six.

Councillor Brian Vincent, cabinet member for Environment said: “Household Waste Recycling Centres are for Plymouth residents to get rid of their household waste that can’t go in their bins. They are not for traders to get rid of waste from a job they’ve carried out and trades people know the law on this.

“In an ideal world, we would not be in this position, but we have less money in the pot and this service has £200,000 savings to make."

The council surveyed trailer use at the sites and found that 23 per cent of the trailers who tipped had builders’ rubble, with many of them turning up first thing in the morning, suggesting they are traders offloading ahead of the working day.

A delegated decision signed by Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Brian Vincent will also see further changes to the opening hours at Weston Mill and Chelson Meadow centres to bring them in line with neighbouring authorities’ hours and to ensure that the sites are being run more cost-effectively. As a delegated decision it is subject to call in by the Council's scrutiny until April 3 and the changes are planned to come into effect from 29 April.

The Council also compared the opening hours of household recycling centres in the region and found that Chelson Meadow, for instance, was open 77 hours a week in the summer, compared to 65 hours for centres in Devon and 49 hours in Cornwall and 40 hours in Somerset.

The Council will also be limiting the amount of construction and demolition waste taken at the site, in the face of escalating disposal costs and again due to suspected abuse from traders, who should be using commercial waste disposal firms.

Councillor Vincent added: “Most will not notice any difference and these measures will enable us to concentrate our resources ensuring our household waste and recycling facilities are for our households.”


General information on permits and recycling centre criteria:

Opening hours:
Summer opening hours for Chelson Meadow will be Tuesday to Friday and Sunday open every day from 9.30am and closing at 6pm – except Mondays when it will close at 7pm. On Saturdays Chelson Meadow will open at 8.30am and close at 6.30pm.

The opening hours of the Weston Mill site will also change from 9am to 6pm all year round to 9.30am to 6pm The centres will not open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

* No trailers over three metres at either site *Trailer owners will have to apply for a permit to allow them to use the centres *Owners of small trailers – below 1.8 metres – can apply for permits to use the centres up to 12 times a year.
* Owners of large trailers over 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length can apply for a permit to use the centres up to 12 times a year.
* Owners of larger vans –for example, Ford Transit, Vauxhall Movana, VW Transporter – can apply for a permit which will allow them to use the centres six times a year *Owners of small vans, for example, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Citroen Berlingo, allowance of 12 tips in a year will remain.

Rubble and soil
*Car users will have to prove they live in Plymouth on each visit
* Permit holders: Small van or small trailer – up to three visits to deposit soil and rubble of the 12 visits allocated over a 12 month period
* Large van or large trailer – will be allocated one visit for soil and rubble of the six visits allocated over a 12 month period.
* Residents needing to deposit large amounts of soil and rubble or more than their permit allowance will be charged at the current disposal rate, which is £12 a tonne.

More information about where people can apply for permits and criteria as well as Frequently Asked Questions is available at


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