Following a public consultation, Hampshire council has announced its entire network of 24 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the county will stay open.
A public consultation was carried out in March, asking residents for their views on a number of proposals for changes to the HWRC service at the centres, in order to meet revised savings targets (see letsrecycle.com story).
Proposals included reducing opening hours at the sites, charging non-Hampshire residents for use and charging for non-household waste. Closure of one or more of the sites had also been mooted.
After considering the results of the consultation, the council’s executive member for environment, Cllr Rob Humby has announced that none of Hampshire’s HWRC sites will close permanently, but in return savings will be made on running costs.
This includes all HWRCs opening two hours later from 1 January 2017 at 11am daily; A system of cross-border charging to be introduced of £2 per visit for non-Hampshire residents to start no later than 1 September 2017 and; further non-household waste types will be considered for charges to be introduced at a later date.
And, the HWRC service will be opened up to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and DIY waste, on a chargeable basis, from 1 October 2016.
The introduction of the non-household and SME waste disposal charges was delayed to allow for the start of the new HWRC management contract, with Veolia, which began on 1 April 2016 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Cllr Rob Humby said: “Hampshire’s residents told us very clearly that their priority was to keep all the HWRCs open and I am genuinely pleased that we have found a way to make this happen.
“We do need to save money in the running costs of the service this year, but we will do this by opening two hours later each day at 11am (outside of peak morning traffic times) and closing on a Thursday.
“We’ve achieved additional savings through procurement of a new management contract; and we will also introduce a small charge for people living outside of Hampshire so they can continue to use our service.”
He added: “The cost of dealing with waste is significant, and there is still much work to do to minimise waste individually and collectively, from our homes and at the HWRCs, and to reuse and recycle as efficiently as possible.
“This includes tackling fly-tipping head-on which I know is a concern for Hampshire residents, as well as a financial and environmental issue for the county council.
“We will be working with a wide range of stakeholders including the Environment Agency, Police, local authorities, rural representatives and Trading Standards on the next steps in dealing with this.”
The consultation ran from 16 March to 25 May, and changes to the household waste and recycling centre service will commence as early as 1 September.
Hampshire county council was recently embroiled in a dispute with West Berkshire district council over the use by some of its residents of HWRCs in Newbury and Padworth – run by the district council. Hampshire opted to end a £200,000 to the neighbouring authority over residents use of the site (see letsrecycle.com story).