THE introduction of a booking system for the disposal of sofas and other upholstered items at recycling centres brings a risk of increased fly-tipping, a senior councillor has admitted.

At the current time, Borderers can turn up at centres to dispose of such items as armchairs, kitchen and dining room chairs, home office chairs, futons, bean bags and floor and sofa cushions.

But major change is now afoot after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) issued new guidance banning waste upholstered domestic seating (WUDs) containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from being sent to landfill.

As a result, Scottish Borders Council is legally bound to update its procedures to meet the requirements.

This means the local authority will continue to collect WUDS containing POPs on the same vehicle at the same time, but temporary repairs must be made to any damaged upholstered items.

Additionally, a booking system is to be introduced – which council bosses admit may prove unpopular.

A report to a meeting of next week’s full council says: “It is recognised that the booking system is unlikely to be well received.

“However, it ensures that when residents arrive at a community recycling centre there is space in the skip to offload the waste. If we do not provide a booking system this could not be guaranteed, and we may have to turn residents away.”

Councillor Scott Hamilton, the deputy leader of Scottish Borders Council, accepts that the changes – set to cost the local authority an additional £196k a year – are problematic.

He said: “This new directive has huge implications on the council and how we actually approach it.

“Ultimately, if you don’t do it right it is going to end up in an increase in fly-tipping, which is not what we want to see. We have worked hard to try and mitigate that.

“The Borders has not go that bad a reputation for fly-tipping.

"You see other local authority areas where the numbers are huge, so you feel you have done all this work to create all these waste recycling centres and what’s it for if people just start saying ‘what’s the point?, we may as well go and dump this rather than booking and paying more’. That is going to end up in a bad situation for the Borders.

“It’s the convenience for a lot of people that will be affected by it, because obviously at the minute they can take it to these centres but now it will have to be booked in.

“If you put barriers in front of people they will try and find the easiest way about them and unfortunately that can end up in fly-tipping.”