Limits are to be placed on how much building and DIY waste can be dumped at Lancashire’s household recycling centres by residents using vans or trailers.

County councillors have agreed to new rules on “inert” material – such as rubble, concrete, soil and plasterboard – after a surge in the amount being taken to its facilities since a previous restriction was relaxed.

Back in 2015, the authority placed a cap on how much of inert waste could be deposited at household waste sites.

Enforcement relied on a paper permit system, which was suspended at the start of the pandemic to reduce interactions between staff and residents.

Even after Covid restrictions eased, the inert waste limit was never reintroduced.  But since the volume of such material being taken to the facilities has nearly doubled to an additional 9,700 tonnes per year.

Now County Hall has decided to restrict inert waste arriving by van or trailer to three 25kg bags or items per visit.  The limit will not apply to residents using cars.

Van and trailer will still only be allowed at tips once a month. But the inert waste limit itself is more than three times as generous as one that was in place between 2015 and 2020.

Meanwhile a ban on people visiting the recycling centres on foot, which was introduced in 2021, will be made permanent for safety reasons.

Environment cabinet member County Cllr Shaun Turner stressed most trips to household waste centres are made by car so “the majority of residents will be completely unaffected by this policy”.

He also insisted there was no reason to believe the change would result in an increase in fly-tipping.

He said: “Most fly-tipping is carried out by unscrupulous businesses who do not want to pay for the waste in the first place.  We only accept household waste…[and as] fly-tipping carries penalties of an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison, we believe the average householder will not risk such penalties."

A new digital platform has also been developed for an appointment-booking system.

On the overall access policy, County Cllr Turner added:  “[It] plays an important part in managing traffic at our recycling centres, especially…our smaller sites.

“By their nature, many vans and trailers can carry significantly more waste than cars – they often take much longer to unload and can be more difficult to manoeuvre.  If unchecked, this can cause congestion or make access to containers more difficult for other visitors.

“We want to encourage residents to separate their waste into the correct containers, so as much of it as possible is recycled. The access policy limits the number of vans and trailers on the facility at any time, which, in turn, allows other visitors to use the facilities more freely and safely.”