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Fly tipping figures on the rise

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As councils find their budgets squeezed ever tighter many areas have found that services that were previously free now have a hefty charge attached. One such ‘luxury’ is in the area of waste where so called bulky collections now have a fee in order for the council to come out and collect and dispose of such items.
A bulky collection may consist of a single over size item such as furniture or white goods or it could simply be waste that doesn’t fit in the regular waste collection. The impact of charging is facing blame for the most part for the increase in fly tipping nationally. Recent Government figures published show that across England fly tipping rates have increased for the third year running. Only Nottingham City Council reported a 42% drop in fly tipping as one of the few remaining councils still offering free bulky collections.
Despite hefty fines for fly tipping reports suggest that only 0.2% (2135) of cases resulted in prosecution in 2016. All this despite a £50million bill for taxpayers to clean up the mess left by flytippers with items such as household waste, furniture, grass cuttings, tyres, car parts and fridges a regular feature on UK roadsides and laybys.
An alternative to council costs or illegal activity could be engaging with private services that may often give a more competitive service to householders or businesses when disposing of waste. Private companies may also be much more responsive when it comes to understanding the needs of people trying to remove waste from their property and could also offer related services such as skip hire or house clearances that could prove useful.
This alternative could be a welcome option as people begrudge “paying twice” for council services and are further incensed by imminent plans by many councils to introduce charges for garden bin collections. Despite the majority of householders totally opposed to garden waste charges some councils have already introduced the charge with more set to follow, setting a fee of circa £40 on top of their existing council tax charge each year.

How CHAPS Will Impact the Removals Industry for the Worse

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pulling hair out

The 2 Day House Move !!

Changes to the CHAPS system, as announced by the Bank of England last year, are
coming into effect in 2016. Instead of the clearance time being cut off at
4.20pm, it will be extended to 6pm.

This might sound like a good thing for home movers. Some have previously been
unable to move on the desired day, because the money hasn’t been transferred
in time and the keys haven’t been released. So, an extension to 6pm is good.

But it isn’t, because estate agents, solicitors and removals companies will be
forced to work much later to compensate. Why? Simply because the Working Time
Directive 2002/15/EC is very strict on the amount of hours people can work.
These hours include driving.

A one-day move – even locally – could turn into a two-day move

The Working Time Directive puts the maximum working period as 15 hours. This can
only be done three times a week. As lorry drivers must complete a vehicle check
before they start, their working day could start like this:
– 7.30am – begin vehicle checks
– 8am – drive to client’s house to begin move
– 8.30am – 9am – begin the moving process

With every chance that payment will go through at the new time of 6pm instead of
earlier, this means the driver and crew will already have been working for
nearly 12 hours by the time the solicitor arrives to hand the keys over. The
movers still have the task of unloading the lorry and driving back to the lorry
park/yard – something that cannot be done in three hours.

This in turn means there is every chance that someone moving even from one
street to the next could end up doing so over the space of two days – let
alone when greater distances are involved. What is the outcome? Increased costs
for the homeowner, who has to pay for two days instead of one, and has to find
somewhere to stay overnight as well.

“Increased flexibility”

This is the term used in a news release from the Bank of England, issued back in
July last year. The changes are set to come into force this summer, so anyone
moving home in the second part of 2016 and beyond could find a nasty surprise
awaits them when finding out how much the move will cost.

There is every chance the change will produce anything but increased flexibility
for home movers and removals firms.


Both Renters and Buyers Are Paying More

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MoneyIt doesn’t matter whether you are planning to buy your first home or to move into a new rental, the chances are that if you are making your move this autumn, you will be paying higher prices than you would have done a couple of years ago. Both rents and the costs of starter homes have hit new highs, leaving many tenants wondering which of the options for their next move will make the most financial sense.

The average amount spent by first time buyers has reached its highest point for two years, according to estate agency haart. The average cost of a first home is now over £160,000. The market is particularly difficult for first time buyers at the moment. Although the property market as a whole has experienced growth this year, the impact has been strongest for starter homes. In September, the average price for all properties actually dropped by 1.1%, but the average cost of a starter home rose by 4.1% in the same month. While the overall growth is now beginning to slow down, starter homes are still becoming more expensive, and there is more competition between first time buyers than in other parts of the market. However, with the numbers of prospective first time buyers registering with estate agents on decline, the situation might become a little better as the competition for starter homes is reduced.

If these higher prices are enough to put you off buying for the moment, you won’t find much relief in the rental market. According to LSL Property Services, rents have also been on the rise recently. The average monthly rent in England and Wales has reached £768. However, the future could be looking a little brighter for tenants, since the rate at which rents are increasing has been showing signs of slowing down, as often happens at this time of year. In August, rents rose by about 2.4% on average, but the rise slowed to 1.5% in the following month. This slower growth is expected to continue into the next year, with an expected average monthly increase of 1.8% in the next 12 months.

Flytipping on the Rise

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Fly Tipped WasteThe amount of rubbish that is being illegally dumped in England has increased by 20% since last year, according to the latest government figures on the problem. Over the last year, there have been over 750,000 separate instances of flytipping reported.

This recent increase in flytipping marks a serious step back. Flytipping, which had been on the decline, has now returned to well above its 2010 levels. The problem is at its worst in London, but all parts of England have been affected by a problem that is both unsightly and environmentally harmful.

Rubbish has been found dumped on quiet alleyways in towns, along major roads and peaceful public footpaths, and even on once pristine farmland. About two thirds of what is dumped is domestic waste, including large items such as sofas and mattresses, as well as general household junk. This works out as one instance of flytipping for every 39 households.

It is likely that a lot of this domestic waste was dumped by ordinary people as a one-off, but there have been some cases of individuals accepting payment to dispose of household waste and then simply dumping it rather than taking the waste to the proper disposal site. These cases highlight the importance of dealing with a reputable company when arranging rubbish removals. It also shows how important it is for councils to consider how their waste services can be improved to encourage more people to dispose of their rubbish safely, and what educational measures might be taken to convince potential flytippers to get rid of their waste in a more responsible manner.

Reducing flytipping and the problems it causes is very important. Flytipping is not just an aesthetic problem. It can also be seriously harmful for our health and for the environment, particularly when hazardous materials that need to be disposed of very carefully are left lying around. The cost of dealing with discarded waste is also serious. Our councils are now spending 24% more on clearing up flytipped waste and on prosecuting those who dumped it. This adds up to a total cost of £45.2 million across England, all of which would be unnecessary if people took more care of their waste.

Are House Prices on Their Way Down ?

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Property Prices DownThe market has been looking better for buyers for a while, thanks to the increasing number of properties for sale and the smaller numbers of people looking for a new home. However, what homeowners, including recent buyers, want to know, is what will happen in the longer term. A new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that next year could be a significant turning point for the property market in the UK.

Prices have tended to rise during 2014, and this is a trend that is set to continue throughout the rest of the year, according to the CEBR. The end result is likely to be an overall increase of about 7.8%. However, the trend is expected to reverse in 2015, when property values may start to decline. The predicted fall is not likely to be as large as the rise that we have seen this year, so that gains in value that have accumulated over 2014 will not be wiped out completely. The CEBR predicts that the dip in prices in 2015 could be just 0.8%.

Although this amount seems small, the turn from steady increase to small decline could be significant for anyone who is hoping to move into their own home for the first time. While existing homeowners who are expecting to move may find the reduction in prices offset by the decrease in their current home’s value, first time buyers could benefit from prices that could drop by an average of just over £2000, as well as the chance to get onto the property ladder without having to catch up to prices that keep climbing just out of reach.

If the CEBR’s predictions do come true next year, then 2015 will be the first year that property prices have declined since 2011. Several factors make such a decline likely, and their effects are already beginning to be seen on the market. The Mortgage Market Review began to slow down mortgage approvals in April, demand from buyers has declined particularly in the least affordable areas, and expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates have made many more cautious about the housing market.

Buyers in Bedfordshire Struggle to Get On the Property Ladder

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Property CostA report recently released by Shelter, the homelessness charity, has revealed just how difficult it can be for people to afford their first home in Central Bedfordshire. According to the charity’s data, fewer than 8% of the properties that are currently on sale in the area are actually affordable for the average family, suggesting that first time buyers are unlikely to be arranging removals within the area.

The figure was calculated by comparing property prices with the mortgages that would be available to families who were earning the average income and who had already managed to put together the usual deposit of 18%. The results showed that these families would only be able to afford the repayments on 90 of the 1150 family homes being sold in the area.

However, the council for Central Bedfordshire suggested that there was much more affordable property in the area than this data might suggest. The council estimates that a substantially higher 31% of properties in the area were affordable during the last four years. This would make central Bedfordshire one of the most affordable places in which to buy a home in the East of England.

Despite this apparent affordability, many people in the area have struggled to afford their own homes, and property prices have been just as much a concern as they are in other neighbouring counties. Affording to buy a first home, and cover all of the associated removals, insurance and utilities costs appears to be increasingly difficult for many people.

Efforts such as the Help to Buy scheme and including affordable properties in local development plans have already been put in place, but it is clear that more needs to be done in order to ensure that removals are being made from rentals to owned properties, and not just between the same property types. Unless we want to live in an area where tenants can only ever afford to rent, and only homeowners can keep paying more to stay on the property ladder, we need to ensure that more affordable properties are being made available to first time buyers.

Rates Rise on Fixed Rate Mortgages

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mortgages rateIn a move that many financial commentators have been predicting for some time, following several months of historically low interest, the rates being charged on some of the cheapest fixed rate mortgages are now increasing. This increase is an important reminder to buyers that they must consider the long-term costs involved with purchasing a property as well as the immediate costs such as hiring removals vans.

The mortgages being affected are those offering two-year deals fixing interest at the cheapest rates. The rates have been increasing for people who are borrowing between 60 and 90 percent of the property value, according to a study conducted by Moneyfacts. Borrowers are experiencing fairly significant rises, with those having enjoyed two year fixed rates of 1.89% on mortgages obtained with a 25% deposit now likely to be facing increased rates of about 1.98%. Those who have had their interest rated fixed for five years rather than two are also likely to see a rise when their rates change.

Moneyfacts attributes the current increase in interest rates to a change in the Swap rates, which are used to determine how much interest should be charged on mortgages. Swap rates have been increasing, in response to concerns about when the Bank of England will raise its own rates, and mortgage rates are now following them up. Mortgage rates are therefore pre-emptively reacting to the expected Bank of England rate rise, which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

The rises are affecting borrowers whose mortgages were previously fixed at the lowest rates, while those who are seeking the cheapest rates for new mortgages are also likely to be offered slightly higher rates. The effect is strongest for those with low loan to value ratios. Buyers who are planning removals and seeking new mortgages with large deposits are actually being offered slightly more expensive rates than those first time buyers with small deposits who are still receiving offers of competitive rates. As mortgage rates rise for new buyers, it may be important for borrowers to seek savings elsewhere, by shopping around for the best prices for removals services, utilities and other costs associated with moving into a new home.

Rental Profits Reach Four Year High

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Rental Property RiseThe news that landlords are making their highest profits in four years will not come as much of a surprise to any tenants who are planning removals between rental properties in one of the higher priced parts of the country, but it will be welcome news to anyone who is investing in rental properties.

The cost of renting a typical home in England and Wales rose to £745 a month during May, a rise of 0.6% over the last month. Although this is a remarkable rise over such a short period, the good news for renters is that the rise has not been consistently sharp. The total rise over the last year was not quite twice this amount, at 1.1%, which means that rents have been growing at less than the 1.5% cost of inflation. On average, tenants are now paying just £8 more than they were a year ago, according to the estimates of LSL Property Services, so if you are looking for a new property to rent, you shouldn’t see much of a difference in the prices that are available in your area. In fact, the prices that you are being charged may have become cheaper in real terms, even if the actual figure seems to have increased, because the rise has been below the rate of inflation. You might actually be saving a few pounds even before your removals van delivers your belongings to your new home.

However, although rents have not matched the rise of inflation over the last twelve months, this does not mean that landlords are suffering. The profits being made on rental profits have just reached their highest levels in four years, if rising property prices are taken into account. Landlords made an average of 5.3% per property during the last year, based on rental charges alone. However, when the total return on a rental property was calculated, taking vacant periods between removals, property prices and other factors into account, the average annual return was 12.2%, the highest level in four years. The average landlord has made just over £20,000 over the last year, with £8107 of this profit coming from rent.

Are You Suffering from Recycling Fatigue ?

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waste collection binsRecycling can be a bit of a chore when you are sorting out your own rubbish. Not having to organize your own recycling is one of the benefits of hiring a rubbish removals team to take care of bigger jobs, but on a day-to-day basis, it is something that we all have to do for ourselves.

Unfortunately, it seems that some of us are beginning to grow tired of all this work. A recent report produced by recycling firm Sita UK, which is responsible for recyclable rubbish removals from about 12 million UK households, has suggested that recycling rates have been slowing across the country. The amount of waste recycled in England rose from just 11% in 2000 to 43% in 2012, but the rate at which it was increasing had slowed by 2013. It went up by just 0.2% last year, and it might even decrease in 2014, making it difficult for the UK to meet the target of recycling 50% of its waste by 2020. With many councils struggling to meet their recycling commitments and residents often confused about what to recycle, and how, it is clear that we need to find a way to keep people interested in recycling.

Finding ways of making recycling simpler, such as collecting mixed waste rather than asking people to spend too much time sorting their own recyclables, could be part of the solution, but it is also important to ensure that people remember why recycling matters. Whether you are throwing out your household waste or using a rubbish removals service to clear out your house or garden, ensuring that it is all disposed of responsibly is very important. None of us wants to live in a world where rubbish is allowed to pile up on the streets, or dumped on our farmland and green spaces. Recycling has become an important part of how we handle our waste. It allows us to reduce the amount of rubbish that we send to landfill and gives us a way to turn many types of waste into useful products. Remembering why we recycle could be the key to tackling recycling fatigue.

Flytipping Frustrates Farmers and Threatens the Environment

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Fly Tipped WasteFarmers across the UK are struggling to cope with an epidemic of flytipping that is leaving fields full of unwanted junk and rubbish that could have been safely and responsibly disposed of at local licensed tips. The National Farmers Union released statistics showing that there were 711,000 incidents of flytipping in England alone in the year 2012-13. This works out as once every 44 seconds.

Many farmers have suffered repeated problems, with people dumping unwanted rubbish on their land many times. The problem appears to be particularly bad in the southeast of the country. One farmer near St Albans told the BBC that he was finding items dumped on his land about three times a week, largely because his farm was one of the first pieces of open land on a major route out of the town.

Clearly, the problem is much bigger than just a few people dumping their own rubbish without thinking about the consequences. Farmers can wake up to find several truckloads of rubbish has appeared in their fields overnight, since there are actually “professional” rubbish removers who are taking people’s money to dispose of their junk and then just dumping it as soon as they get out of town.

The NFU is now calling for people to take more care by selecting a licensed rubbish removal service rather than handing their money over to these flytippers. Many of the items that have been dumped on farmland could actually have been donated to local charity shops to raise money for good causes while making a new owner happy. Other types of rubbish could have been recycled rather than dumped, and used to produce more environmentally friendly new products. Even the rubbish that could not have been reused or recycled could have been treated better. Licensed disposal sites could have ensured that rubbish which posed a threat to health or the environment was treated appropriately. Farmers have found material such as asbestos and electrical waste that needs to be disposed of carefully in order to avoid risks to people, livestock and wildlife. All of these actions could have been taken to protect the environment if this waste had been handed over to a licensed company.

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