Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet has today (7 January) agreed a series of changes to the county’s household recycling centre service.
The recommendations for change were prepared following a recent public consultation and a detailed analysis of how the recycling centre service currently operates, including patterns of demand at each of the sites, and survey information on how people actually use their own local site.
The changes aim to make important cost savings while at the same time ensuring that Buckinghamshire residents experience as little difference as possible in the way they use their local recycling centre. Buckinghamshire’s household recycling centre service is highly thought of by residents, and the decision to make changes at all was only taken with reluctance.
The main changes being introduced, which it is estimated will make cost savings of £1.25 million, are as follows:
1. Introduce charges at all Buckinghamshire household recycling centres for anything that is classed as non-household waste. This includes waste resulting from the construction, demolition, renovation or alteration of homes and outbuildings, and rubble, soil and treated wood resulting from garden landscaping. However, all green garden waste will continue to be accepted without charge. Charges will be phased in from 1 April 2019.
2. From 1 April 2019, reduce daily opening at the household recycling centres at Rabans Lane (Aylesbury), Chesham and Burnham from seven to five days a week by closing them on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
3. Permanently close the household recycling centre at Bledlow from 1 April 2019.
4. Close the household recycling centre at Burnham permanently from 30 September 2019, subject to a financial review of the effectiveness of the other changes, which could mean that closure is postponed.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Bill Chapple OBE, Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment, said: “The changes we are making to the household recycling centre service have been very carefully considered so that they make as little disruption as possible to residents across the county as a whole. However, I do accept that some of the changes, especially permanent closure of a site, will have an impact on residents living in that locality.”
He added: “Although I would much rather inconvenience no-one, these closures are unfortunately necessary if we are to realise the level of cost savings the Council’s budget requires.”
The Cabinet meeting recognised the widely-held concern that, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, changes to the household recycling centre service would lead to an increase in fly tipping. To cover such an eventuality, authority was given for the county’s waste enforcement service to work with the Cabinet Member to bring in additional preventative measures if any increase is identified.
Bill Chapple continued: “I’m aware that there is widespread concern that the changes agreed today will cause more fly tipping. But evidence from around the country says otherwise – ordinary householders don’t suddenly become criminals because changes are made at their local tip. However, we have zero tolerance of fly tipping, any will take immediate action if there’s any sign of an increase due to these changes.”
The Council will be carrying out extensive communications to ensure that residents are aware of the changes that will be taking place both to the household recycling centre service as a whole, and especially in respect of their own local site.
The webcast of the Cabinet meeting is available here, together with the agenda and supporting documentation: https://buckscc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/387731