Staff at ‘tips’ across Hertfordshire are to be issued with hand-held devices to help them identify residents who visit too often.

Restrictions already prevent businesses, charities and other organisations from bringing waste to the county’s 17 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Since June the number of times residents can bring a van or trailer has been limited to 12 in a year.

The “absolute limit” for those with van permits was brought in after operators Amey reported they were making significant losses, ” in order to reduce its financial burden under the contract”.

And now a report to the Community Safety and Waste Management Panel on Monday (September 10) reveals a new digital system will identify abuses of the van permit system.

The project has been trialled over August and is expected to be rolled out across the county in the autumn.

“When the customer arrives at the HWRC, an operator at the site will type their permit number into a handheld ‘smart’ device to check their details against the main system and log their visit,” says the report.

“The customer will then receive an email telling them how many visits they have left on their permit and when their permit is due for renewal.”

The report says the changes to a digital platform will also reduce the time needed to process an application and reduce administrative costs.

It says since the introduction of the restriction – which is said to be “common-place” across the country – there have been no complaints.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Panel also heard that Amey had shared information with the Council about the losses they are incurring on the HWRC contract – with up to 80 per cent of those losses reflecting the change in commodity values.

Amey have, says the report, expressed continuing concerns about the viability of the contract, although they have confirmed they wish to continue with it.

The county council is already exploring options for the future, should Amey no longer be able to fulfil the contract.

Those options include financial support for the contract to continue, re-procurement, bringing services ‘in-house’ or setting up a so-called ‘Teckal’ company.

The report states: “The primary aim and goal is to work with Amey to ensure the current contract continues and is sustainable for both parties.

“However the work outlined above is both prudent and necessary to ensure risks are managed and options understood if a mutually agreeable way forward is not achieved with Amey.”

The Amey contract to run the County Council’s 17 HWRCs is due to run until March 2023.