A Devon based waste service business is calling on the next government to 'take a serious look' at the waste industry and how it is regulated.

Axe Skip Hire in Axminster says no support is given to a sector which is trying its best to embrace net zero and carbon neutral aims.

The small family run business, which has been going for 40 years, says the onerous red tape and bureaucracy is “difficult and demoralising” and that unlike other industries, such as farming and forestry, no grants are available to assist the waste industry to deal with new regulations, recycle more waste and reduce the amount which goes into landfill.In response, the Enviornment Agency sent us a blog that explains more about the waste industry Waste exemption changes to prevent crime in the waste sector – Creating a better place and Waste criminals – we’ve got you in our sights – Creating a better place

Company director James Bostock told the Herald: “Never has it been so difficult or demoralising to run our business. With all the talk about recycling and helping the environment, the next government needs to start looking at grants to help with continuous, nit-picking, impractical red tape, tests and changes imposed on us - all of which are additional costs.”

One example of this is new mandatory soil testing measures, which were introduced to ensure toxic waste is not being processed or dumped. Axe Skip Hire says the Environment Agency (EA) has no real guidelines, help or advice about how this can be done. Each test costs around £250, with a soil skip costing from £180.

James added: “The EA is becoming more and more difficult with regards to the waste, especially skip hire industry. If you are just a regular ‘man and a van’ all you need is a waste carrier’s licence. No regulations, red tape, qualifications and costs that we have to go through in order to to transport the same waste.

“While we have to have a paper trail of every bit of waste that leaves our yard, others can just dump it anywhere. This has made fly tipping of general household waste including fridges, freezers, TVs, more and more apparent in the countryside, which means hazardous waste is being transported with no licences and just dumped. With nothing to inspect, it is hard to police, so it is just ignored whilst we are squeezed more and more.”

Another example is the permitted use of red diesel, a cheaper form of fuel which is used by travelling fairs, agriculture, horticulture and rail transport. The waste industry, which has sorting vehicles only used on site, is no longer allowed to use it and has to run on normal diesel - despite having a lower impact on the environment. 

“At every new decision/procedure or demand someone in an office, far far away from the work on the ground, comes up with an additional cost to us with no help, guidance - just ‘you can't do this’ and then more cost. 

“There is only so much you can keep passing onto the customer, especially when you have others in the same industry who can undercut you so much, as they don’t have the regulations or costs which have impacted us. 

“It's like they are trying to squeeze out the small businesses all together. Other sectors get grants or support to help the environment and keep them in existence when any new regulations are enforced on them. It’s about time the waste industry got the help it so obviously needs.”