As there are few HWRCs in north Hampshire, there has been a ‘transitional arrangement’ in place since 2016 (see letsrecycle.com story). The arrangement allowed around 5,000 Surrey residents to use West Berkshire’s Newtown Road facility in Newbury free of charge, at a cost of £175,000 per year to Hampshire county council.
This enabled the county council time to evaluate the feasibility of two sites as possible long-term solutions for an HWRC in north-west Hampshire. However, Hampshire county council has now decided that developing a new HWRC site in the Kingsclere area of the county is “not feasible at this time”.
Therefore, the transitional payments were not extended when the agreement ended on 31 July, and Hampshire residents now have to pay to use the facility.
Its online booking system will continue to function as normal, but North Hampshire residents will be separated into a different lane and asked to pay by card when they arrive.
In a statement, the council said: “On 29 July 2021 the executive lead member for economy, transport and the environment took the decision not to further extend the transitional arrangement in place for north Hampshire residents.
“The decision was based on account of budgetary pressures, an adverse outcome from feasibility studies for building a new site in the Kingsclere area, and the imminent introduction of a charge-per-visit scheme for non-residents by West Berkshire.”
In July 2020 it was recommended that Hampshire’s payments to West Berkshire should cease in the light of the county council’s budgetary pressures and “ongoing need for efficiencies”. The residents affected would still have free access to HWRCs in their own county.
The decision was put on hold for 12 months after Hampshire county council and Basingstoke and Deane borough council jointly agreed a further interim arrangement.
Earlier this year, West Berkshire council notified Hampshire county council that, when the interim measure ended on 31 July, it would introduce an entry fee in the region of £7 per visit for non-Berkshire residents.
The system will be enforced through a new number plate recognition system, towards the arrangements for which Hampshire will contribute up to £20,000.
Hampshire residents can now also visit Padworth HWRC in West Berkshire, but this too is subject to the new non-resident fee.
For some Hampshire residents in the very north and north-west of the county, the nearest HWRCs run by their county council are more than 10 miles away.
As an alternative to using the Newtown Road HWRC and to consider the service gap in this part of the county, two potential sites in the Kingsclere area were put forward as possible locations for constructing a new HWRC. However, it was decided neither was suitable.
In its statement, Hampshire county council said: “Feasibility studies for both potential sites in the Kingsclere area concluded they are not suitable for development.
“The county council will continue to review HWRC service provision in the Basingstoke area, however, in the light of the expected future increases in housing and anticipated rise in the demand for waste recycling.”
Representing an estimated population of more than 1.8 million, Hampshire county council had a household waste recycling rate of 41.7% in the 2019.20 financial year.
The council operates a network of 26 HWRCs across Hampshire. They are run by French waste management giant Veolia under a 14-year contract signed in 2016 (see letsrecycle.com story). Veolia also operates West Berkshire’s HWRCs.
The council claims it provides a larger network of HWRCs than “any other similar authority in the country”.
In January 2020, Hampshire county council announced it was introducing a resident permit system at its HWRCs, similar to West Berkshire’s own, which saw those from outside the county charged to use them (see letsrecycle.com story).