Charging plan for recycling centres in Towcester and Farthinghoe being considered

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Plans to charge visitors to Northamptonshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) has been met with negative reaction.

The proposal was outlined as part of Northants County Council’s plan to save 
£1 million across its 10 waste management centres over the next five years, including £250,000 of savings in 2014/15.

As part of the proposals, the council will be reviewing the long-term viability and the opening hours and days of each recycling site.

One idea is to charge users £1 per visit to use the facility.

Programme director for business enterprise at the University of Buckingham and county resident Nigel Adams said:“I think there are other ways the council could look at this. How much is it going to cost to collect the £1?

“The issue is this will put people’s backs up and there will be the usual argument that we are paying for recycling anyway.

“Perhaps they should look at closing earlier in the winter, but they have to take account of people’s usage of each centre.

“There would be some people that would just turn up and pay the £1, but others that will refuse to pay and leave it in their garden or something.

“I think in the days where we are trying to encourage recycling putting up more reasons not to is not a good idea.”

Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “Our waste management service at the county council has made an enormous effort over the past few years to make efficiency savings.

“However further efficiencies are needed to help meet the financial challenge the county council faces.

“The scale of the county council’s financial challenge is huge. Over the next five years we need to save 
£128 million; this is on top of the £177 million which has already been saved since April 2011.

“Across all council services most of the savings have been achieved by reducing back-office costs and finding efficiencies but some tough decisions have had to be made.

“The county council is committed to reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and is still providing a HWRC service.

“We’ve thought long and hard about the best way to reach this stage and we’ve still got some work to do before we make the final proposals about changes to each specific site.”

The council will be consulting on the charging plans.