I LIVE quite close to what is now known as Gatewarth Community Recycling Centre.

Back in the the bad old days it was known, at least colloquially, as Gatewarth tip and I think the distinction between then and now is more than just in name only.

Anyone living down wind of the tip will know exactly what I mean and summers had the potential to be a bit of a nightmare when we were plagued with bad smells and flies.

Of course we could never prove the flies came from the tip and no-one was keen to take responsibility but nevertheless, there were times when the fly problem was like a biblical plague.

I must say, we do appear to have moved on and the smells and flies problem doesn’t seem to be anything like it once was.

But Gatewarth is still there and it still seems to be a popular visitor attraction on summer weekends now it is a ‘community recycling centre’.

I have to confess, I have been that man in the hatchback with the seats folded down queueing to get on to the Gatewarth site on a Sunday afternoon following a weekend of DIY.

Being brutally frank, I still have a little frisson of irritation when I’m told off by the guardians of the skips with their hi-vis jackets who seem to go about their work with some kind of evangelical zeal.

Does wood with a bit of metal go in the wood skip or the metal skip?

Is plasterboard considered rubble?

Do I have to remove my garden waste out of its plastic bags before I tip it in? (This, of course, is less of a problem if you’ve signed up to the previously-free council scheme to remove your garden waste at the current cost of £31 a year but that’s a completely different story.) My experience has always been that once I’ve navigated the maze of finding the correct skip for my various types of recycling, I have been able to return home with a satisfyingly-empty car.

But it seems my next trip to the tip may not be quite so straightforward. Now, it seems, I may need a permit.

Yes, that’s right – a permit. Don’t believe me? Have a look at the council’s website.

There in black and white it states it only accepts ‘household waste’ from properties in Warrington at its community recycling centres.

They don’t accept commercial and trade waste which is fair enough But even if you generate rubble, bricks, paving stones, wall and floor tiles, roof tiles, fencing (including concrete posts) and panels, plaster and plasterboard, cement, kitchen units, bathroom suites, doors, fireplaces, radiators, window frames, gutters, downpipes, fascias and loft installation, from your own home, there are restrictions on these materials and the amounts you can take to your local CRC.

If you do want to dump any of that, you will have to get a permit.

Permits are issued for an agreed number of visits to a community recycling centre (up to a maximum of three) to either Gatewarth or Woolston on an agreed date.

In order to get a permit you’ll need to provide a full list of the items you wish to dispose of and the approximate quantity.

Only if the type and quantity of material meets the council’s criteria will a permit will be issued.

Be warned, there is no flexibility.

The permit will specify the items to be disposed of; the site the permit is valid for; the date of the visit and the vehicle being used to transport the waste (including make, model and registration number).

And if you turn up at the site without your permit and proof of address, you’ll probably get turned away on arrival.

And anecdotally, if you turn up with anything not specified on your permit, there is a good chance you will get turned away as well.

I’m sure there are some very good reasons for all these restrictions although the council’s website doesn’t really give any indication what these reasons are. I would be very interested to have a little clarification on this.

The fact remains, it seems many of us are not having a particularly user-friendly experience.

Is it any wonder fly-tipping is on the rise?

  •  Just a footnote, we had some work done last year that necessitated us hiring a skip. I would never in a million years have dreamed of making multiple trips to the tip to try to get rid of all the detritus that was generated, which is fair enough.

But surely I don’t need a permit to dump a car boot full of rubbish or do I?