DITCHING the fees for 'bulky uplifts' will save residents money and cut fly-tipping but the generous move will cost Fife Council more than a £1 million.

The local authority currently charges up to £30 to collect items that are too big for the bin, such as TVs, mattresses, sofas and fridge-freezers, and now they want to make it free.

They hope it'll make it easier for residents already dealing with a harsh economic climate to get rid of unwanted goods and deter the illegal dumping of rubbish in the countryside.

John Rodigan, head of environment and building services, said: "Concerns are growing that the current cost of living crisis will see some residents unable to pay for the uplift of bulky items they cannot dispose of in their domestic waste bins.

"The removal of bulky uplift charges will support residents with financial challenges and help them to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner."

Councillors at the cabinet committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday) will be asked to approve a proposal to remove the fees from April.

However, the loss of income and the cost of additional resources will hit council coffers to the tune of £1.16m.

Customers currently pay £15 or £30 based on a points per item system and, in 2021-22, there were 34,859 items picked up in 14,235 bulky uplift collections.

That brought in £254,000, which will be lost, while the council say they'll need seven new vans and 14 new members of staff to meet demand.

Based on two examples, the council previously provided a free service in 2004 and Falkirk Council opted to do so more recently, they expect a three-fold increase from around 35,000 items a year to 105,000.

Mr Rodigan's report said: "The service estimates that one van and two operatives can make 20 uplifts in a day, with an average of 2.5 items per collection.

"With nine vans in operation working 260 days per year, the number of items lifted would be 117,000.

"This exceeds the anticipated three-fold demand, however, an additional van and two operatives will be required to cover staff holidays, sickness, training and vehicle downtime."

Bulky uplifts will continue to be ordered through the council's online booking system, to be refined to make it more user-friendly, and scheduled on a first come first served basis.

There will be 180 slots available every day, the list of items that can be uplifted will remain the same and landfill waste will continue to be accepted.

Only vans will be used to collect bulky uplifts which will prevent recyclable materials going to landfill in refuse collection vehicles.

It's estimated a third of the materials uplifted will go to landfill, a third will be recycled and a third sent to waste-from-energy plants.

Mr Rodigan concluded: "The collection of landfill materials will continue but a significant increase in recycling and ‘waste to energy’ will be achieved through the use of vans and Fife Resource Solutions processing systems.

"Residents in Fife struggling with the cost of living crisis will benefit from having their unwanted bulky household waste items uplifted free of charge."