MP accuses Bolton Council of ‘harassing’ small businesses

Bolton West MP Chris Green has slammed Bolton Council’s ‘extreme interpretation’ of waste management laws after being inundated with complaints from small businesses over excessive fines.

Shops and firms in Horwich, Westhoughton and Daisy Hill have contacted their MP after receiving threats of fines from the Council.

One firm was told by the Council’s Environmental Education and Enforcement Unit that they could be fined £300 due to a 2016 change in the law which required businesses to keep paper records of waste disposal and that the Council wrote to businesses confirming such at the time – but the Council has since confirmed that there was no such change in the law and businesses have said that they didn’t receive any such letter.

Shops and small businesses in the area have complained that they don’t produce any waste and yet are now being faced with potential fines. 

 

Speaking in Parliament earlier today, Mr Green said:

“Responsible waste management is vital to increase recycling and reduce landfill but it ought not to be a torturous or overly expensive process for small business.

“Some create very little waste which can be managed alongside their domestic refuse at no additional cost to the business or to the environment.

“Can we have a debate on the extreme interpretation that Bolton Council is putting on the law which results in less recycling, more landfill, small business fines and harassment?”

 

Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom replied:

“My hon friend is quite right to raise this important constituency issue.  Businesses are responsible for finding their own waste operator so that they can choose one whose charges fit their budget.  Some councils do collect business waste but will charge for this.

“He’s right that we do intend to review how business waste is handled.  We want businesses to recycle more and play their part in reducing waste to landfill – more details of that will be in the resources and waste strategy that DEFRA will be publishing in the Autumn.”

 

Councillor Zoe Kirk Robinson (Westhoughton North & Chew Moor ward) said: “Westhoughton has a wonderful town centre with some fantastic businesses and Bolton Council should be supporting it – not threatening them with hundreds of pounds worth of penalties.”