SUPERMARKETS are set to pay a packet in a bid to beat the blight of dumped shopping trolleys.

Reading Borough Council's Labour-controlled cabinet is poised to approve a series of charges which will come into force from July 17.

Supermarkets and convenience stores will have to pay �15 for each trolley removed, �7.50 a week for their storage and �15 for their return, or �50 for their disposal.

The council has the power to remove abandoned trolleys from its land and recover costs under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which requires officers to serve notice on the owner within 14 days. If the owner claims the trolley, it must be returned, but any which are not claimed can be disposed of after six weeks.

Environment leader Cllr Paul Gittings said: "Residents in Reading are fiercely proud of their local areas and unattractive abandoned trolleys undermine this.

"We want to make Reading a greener and cleaner place to be and it is only fair that businesses who do not put in place the appropriate measures to collect their trolleys pay for their retrieval."

The measures, which are due to be approved at tomorrow's cabinet meeting, have been subject to public consultation but the council received "no significant objections".

It is pledging to consult businesses potentially affected by the charges at least every five years to monitor their impact.

After removal, a notice must be served within 14 days on the owner.

If the owner claims the trolley, it must be returned but any which are unclaimed can be disposed of after six weeks.

Green Party group leader Cllr Rob White, who has been pressing for the introduction of charges for a number of years, said: "Since fining trolley owners was raised a little while ago the situation has improved.

"I hope introducing this measure will be the final nail in the coffin for this blight."