County council to consult on ‘realistic’ options to make household recycling centres affordable

Bill Chapple, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment at Bucks County Council
Bill Chapple, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment at Bucks County Council

An eight week consultation starts today (August 28) to hear the public’s views on a series of proposed cost-saving measures to make the county’s household recycling centres affordable for the future.

National figures show that in comparison with other areas, Bucks has a much higher number of sites (ten) for people to use.

In addition, centres currently take certain waste like rubble, soil, plasterboard and car tyres for free, where as other councils tend to charge users for disposal.

Bucks County Council cabinet member for planning and environment Bill Chapple OBE said the review was a ‘reluctant but necessary step’.

He said: “We have an extremely tough budget to meet from April 2019 onwards and this means facing up to some difficult decisions.

“There definitely needs to be changes, but my overall aim is to retain a service that still works for the majority of people going forward.

“Looking at all the data available, the responses to our user surveys and what other councils do, and bearing in mind the views of residents at four focus groups we held in July, there are some preferred options that we are setting out in the consultation.

“Realistically, without these, we’re not going to get anywhere near our financial savings target.

“For example, there is a proposal to permanently close at least one site, with the preferred option being Bledlow.

“We are also including other proposals for closing two sites, Bledlow and Burnham, and to bring in selected weekday closures on days when the site at Aylesbury (Rabans Lane) is less used.

“We’re also proposing to introduce charging at all sites for specific waste that we don’t legally have to accept for free.

“I completely understand that people don’t like being faced with extra charges, however, I have taken into account the fact that less than a third of waste falls into this category, so the charges won’t affect everyone and it also brings us into line with what other councils do.

“Of course, there are other areas where we have genuine choice and that’s where an open and honest consultation is so important.

“For example, we’re looking for views on which two weekdays people would prefer Aylesbury (Rabans Lane) to be closed on, and also what Buckinghamshire residents think about people from outside the county using our recycling centres, which is of course an extra cost to local county taxpayers.”

The council also plans to extend the operation of reuse shops so more can be recycled and sold with the money going to charity.

These reuse shops currently reside at Aston Clinton and High Wycombe and are run by South Bucks Hospice.

Bill added: “I hope people will see the reasons for the changes we propose to bring in and I look forward to hearing views on the areas where there is genuine and open choice.”

The consultation runs until midnight on Monday, October 22.

Access to the online survey and supporting information is available at www.buckscc.gov.uk/hrc-review

A series of drop-in events are planned in local libraries for people to find out more details about the proposals.

Following the consultation, final decisions are expected to be made by the cabinet later in the year.

The schedule of ‘drop-in’ events within Aylesbury Vale are as follows:

Bucks County Show (BCC stand) - Thursday, August 30 - 8am to 6pm

Princes Risborough library - Tuesday, September 11 - 10am to 1pm

Aylesbury Library (currently in the study centre) Thursday, September 20 - 10am to 1pm

Buckingham library - Wednesday, September 26 - 10am to 1pm