Kincardine and Mearns to move towards hybrid booking system

Three household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) in Kincardine and Mearns in Aberdeenshire will adopt a ‘hybrid’ booking system as part of efforts to clamp down on trade waste abuse.

The decision is set to affect three HWRCs in the Kincardine and Mearns area, with Portlethen pictured

Under the ‘hybrid approach’, residents will be able to turn up without the need to book a slot on Wednesdays or Saturdays. On all other days of the week, residents will  will need to book in advance.

The decision is set to affect the centres in Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk, and will come into force from Monday, 28 November. It comes after 38% of people responded saying they were not in favour of a booking system.

Limit system

Aberdeenshire’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee discussed proposals to change the booking system in place at the local household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) at a meeting on 8 November.

A booking system has been in place since HWRCs opened again after the initial Covid lockdown in March 2020, a report which went before the committee outlined.

It added that  weight limit system for restricting access for commercial type vehicles was introduced in April 2021, as the HWRCs are for household waste only but have been used by traders in the past.

The move came after it was estimated that it costs the council up to £500,000 annually to dispose of trade waste deposited at the HWRCs free of charge.  It added that this limit system currently can’t function without the booking system.

The committee was recommended to adopt one of three options, which included retaining the booking system in full, removing it completely from November to July 2023, or implementing a hybrid booking system, which would see Wednesday and Saturday as non-booking days for the same period.

Public opinion

The document explained that the management of entry into the council’s HWRCs “continues to be subject to comment from the public”. It pointed out that there is an expectation amongst some customers that the booking system should be withdrawn now that the Covid restrictions have been lifted.

A resident survey showed that 38.5% of respondents were dissatisfied with the booking system in place

The report noted that the results of a survey conducted in autumn last year highlighted that 38.5% of the respondents were dissatisfied with the booking system. Of these, it listed three main concerns, with difficulty in finding a free slot cited most often (603 respondents). On the other hand, many more respondents (1422) liked the guaranteed spot and the lack of queues (1568).

Cost

Commenting on the meeting, Kincardine & Mearns area committee chair, councillor Wendy Agnew, said: “We need to consider ease of access for all households — not everyone is computer literate and there are occasions where people struggle to book. It is about recognising that the booking system is not as useful for some as it is for others and understanding how we can find that balance.

“There are cost pressures associated with trade waste entering household recycling centres, but households should be as free as possible to recycle what they need.”

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