Changes to recycling centres in Bucks won't lead to more fly-tipping, says councillor

The entrance to the household recycling centre in Rabans Lane, Aylesbury
The entrance to the household recycling centre in Rabans Lane, Aylesbury

A councillor says he is confident that cuts to opening hours at the Rabans Lane recycling centre in Aylesbury will not lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Bill Chapple OBE, cabinet member for planning and environment told the Herald last week he did not want to make changes to the opening hours of the centres but has had his hand forced by 'budgetary pressures'.

He added that he did not feel that the reductions in opening hours would lead to more fly-tipping saying that most of the incidents in the county were committed by 'organised criminals.'

Last month Bucks County Council announced proposals to close the recycling centre at Rabans Lane in Aylesbury for two days a week.

Other plans include closing the recycling centre at Bledlow and introducing charges for construction and demolition waste for both Bucks residents and those from outside the county who use the centres.

At a cabinet meeting today (Monday) councillors agreed to proceed with all the changes proposed.

Speaking to this paper ahead of the cabinet meeting Cllr Chapple said: "I understand people's concerns about fly-tipping but most of it is done by organised criminals and men in vans who offer to dispose of a homeowner's waste and then dump it rather than disposing of it properly.

"In Bucks, some of the incidents of fly-tipping we see are London-based criminals driving to Bucks and other surrounding counties and dumping waste.

"We have a zero tolerance attitude to fly-tipping in Bucks - when we catch people we interview them and proceed with the case through the courts.

"We catch one in 38 fly-tippers which is significantly above the national average however there is always room for improvement."

Citing the opening of the recycling centre at Aston Clinton, Cllr Chapple said there was not always a direct link between recycling centres and fly-tipping.

He said: "When we opened the centre at College Road North in Aston Clinton fly-tipping in those areas did not reduce straight away.

"There is a perception that if people get stuck in a queue at recycling centres and get fed up waiting that they go and dump the waste instead but we don't believe that only happens in a very small minority of cases.

"If prosecuted you will get a criminal record and it is really not worth it just to get rid of some rubbish."

The Rabans Lane site will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays and Cllr Chapple said: "These are the quietest days and there is an alternative site available at Aston Clinton which is fairly close by.

"We also decided not to close it on Tuesday, which was the other day we were considering, because on weeks where there are bank holidays on Monday, there may be additional demand for it then.

"I have to reduce my budget by half a million and although I don't want to have to make changes to our recycling centres, which are very popular and efficient, I have been left with no choice because of the budgetary cuts we have to make as a council.

"Our plan is to close Bledlow because it is the centre that is used the least.

"I did consider closing or reducing the hours at the centre at Buckingham but I decided that the centre that was the closest to Buckingham (Rabans Lane) was too far away.

"If I have to close another centre it is most likely to be Burnham - it depends how much money we get from introducing the charges for construction and demolition waste."

Cllr Chapple said he had also been exploring possibilities for relocating the Aylesbury site but had not come up with any alternatives at the moment.

He said: "Because we have some large queues of people trying to get into the site it sometimes prevents people from accessing the units nearby.

"It would cost four million to build a new site and that is money we don't have at the moment."

The changes to opening hours in Aylesbury and the closure of the Bledlow site take effect from April 1.