HYNDBURN Council is one of just 15 local authorities in England not charging for bulky waste collections.

And of councils that do charge for collections, Pendle is the cheapest in the country, figures obtained by the BBC's shared data unit.

Residents in Pendle can pay a flat charge of £10 to have up to £10 items collected.

Blackburn with Darwen residents face a minimum charge of £10 for one to five items, with collections priced at up to £75.

Burnley Council charges £13 for collection of up to four items while in Ribble Valley, residents pay £14 for four items, with extra items charged at £4 per item.

Bulky waste is furniture, household electrical items like televisions and white goods including fridges and freezers - essentially all the things from your house you no longer need and can’t fit into a bin.

In 2017-18, there were nearly one million fly-tipping incidents in England. Of those, more than half - 521,895 - of the items dumped were white goods or other household waste - a category that includes furniture.

The collection of domestic waste is governed by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste regulations 1992.

The regulations say councils can charge for the collection of certain materials, including waste that does not fit into a household bin or waste which exceeds 25kg in weight.

Rossendale Council has the highest charge in East Lancs, with residents forking out £27.10 for three items.

When collecting furniture such as beds, tables and chairs the cost is £27.10 for up to three items. For up to six items the cost is £54.10 and up to nine items is £81.20

Chorley Council charges £20 for single items and £40 for up to five items.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Some councils were able to provide free garden and bulky waste services when they were first introduced but are now having to charge to reflect the growing cost of providing a collection service.

“Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £3.2 billion in 2019-20.

“Money from garden and bulky waste collection charges goes back into maintaining the service.”

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman added: "It is up to local authorities to set their priorities for the collection of waste and recycling on a local level – based on the needs of their local communities and within the national waste policy.

"Local authorities are able to charge what they see fit for the collection and disposal of ‘bulky waste’, but we expect them to consult on any charges with local residents."

Ian Williams, professor of applied environmental science at the University of Southampton, said: "Since 2010 when a policy of austerity was introduced by central government, local authorities had much less money to spend on services.

"Many simply couldn't afford to collect the amount of bulky material requiring collection and disposal with the money they had.

"Ideally, there should be one country-wide system for bulky waste collection. The trouble is that every local authority has their way of doing it and politics comes in here.

"Fly-tipping has gone up for a range of reasons. Local authorities are under unbelievable pressure financially in terms of providing services such as waste management. Something has to give and what can give is that they provide a less good or more infrequent service or end up having to charge for certain services."