WASTE permits and reduced opening hours at one of Monmouthshire’s recycling centres is contributing to a growing problem with fly-tipping, according to villagers who live nearby.

Residents in Llanvaches and Langstone, just a few hundred metres over the Monmouthshire-Newport county line, claim their villages are being swamped with unsightly rubbish dumped by people who cannot access the Five Lanes Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC), near Caerwent.

They also believe the introduction of smaller wheelie bins, by Newport City Council, has added to the problem.

Both local authorities question these claims, but villagers say their lay-bys and roadsides were never affected by fly-tipping before these policies were introduced recently.

“It’s disappointing more than anything,” one Llanvaches resident said. “We’re on the green belt, it’s beautiful here.

“For people to drive in [to our village] and pass the rubbish is embarrassing.”

He added: “Apart from the inconvenience, it’s us having to deal with it,” he said, adding that it seemed to be a daily task since “the smaller bins and permits came in.”

Monmouthshire County Council introduced waste permits at its four HWRCs from June 1. This means people who live outside Monmouthshire cannot use the county’s HWRCs – even if they live a negligible distance from one of the sites, such as the 0.9 miles between Llanvaches and the Five Lanes HWRC.

It is partly because people are being turned away, the Llanvaches resident argues, that fly-tipping has become such a problem.

Rather than take their rubbish back home – or drive more than 20 miles to the Newport council-owned HWRC in Docks Way, Maesglas – some people are instead dumping it.

But this isn’t only a problem caused by people living outside Monmouthshire, he said.

Last Thursday, he found two rubbish bags in a lay-by. After looking inside, he found evidence the bags had come from Caldicot.

He suggested Monmouthshire’s decision to close Five Lanes, like its other HWRCs, for one day each week was perhaps encouraging residents to fly-tip when the site was closed.

The villagers’ concerns have been taken up by Newport councillor Ray Mogford (Langstone ward).

He said: “Some people in Llanvaches live in line of sight of the [Five Lanes] refuse centre, and for some it’s a 26-mile round trip to the Newport site.

“The travelling consumes time and resources, and when they get there it can be chaos.”

Cllr Mogford said it would take “goodwill from somewhere” to find a solution – while some residents have signalled they would pay to use Five Lanes, others have asked why they should pay twice for their waste services.

The Argus asked Monmouthshire County Council about the possibility of collaborating with Newport on a solution.

In response, Cllr Jane Pratt, cabinet member for waste and recycling, said: “Monmouthshire County Council has considered sharing facilities with neighbouring authorities but budget pressures, recycling targets and local service provision have made very this difficult to implement."

She added: “Monmouthshire currently has four [HWRCs] where many of the neighbouring authorities have a single facility.”

Meanwhile, a Newport City Council spokeswoman said the council “deplores and condemns irresponsible fly-tippers”, but suggestions the smaller wheelie bins were contributing to the problem were “unfounded”.

She added: “The council also acknowledges that a decision by both Monmouthshire and Caerphilly local authorities banning non-residents from using their facilities has led to queues on Docks Way to access the HWRC.

“Taking all this into consideration the council is progressing plans to build a second HWRC in Newport.”

But this is scant relief for villagers near Five Lanes who have found themselves cleaning up roadsides.

“I fully appreciate the recycling centres are paid for out of council tax, but to simply ban local residents from using the site is a short-sighted decision and an unfair one on so many levels,” another Llanvaches resident said.

“I appreciate that council tax is regional, but we don't live in the USA where police cars stop at boundaries and separate laws apply,” she said. “We do not live in a federal state and I find it shocking that with increased environmental concerns, two councils cannot find a way to resolve this issue.

“Kids are allowed to go to school across boundaries, police work across boundaries – surely we can sort out rubbish disposal in some grown up way.”