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Somerset recycling sites under threat

Two Somerset community recycling centres could be shut down as Somerset County Council struggles to cope with a “£106m black hole” in its finances.

The Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) confirmed it had been asked to draft plans to close down the centres. Decisions on service delivery in the county are made by the partnership’s board, made up of two councillors from six local authorities.

Partnership managing director Steve Read told MRW: “The council has given the savings target [to the board], and has indicated what it would consider to be a way of achieving those savings.

“One would be to close two community recycling sites. The board then has to consider that and pull together a draft budget and business plan for next year, which would take into account any changes. That will happen on 13 December.

“In the last round of changes made in April 2011, due to budget cuts at that time, we reduced operation at all 18 of our sites to five days a week. As part of the overall package, we are looking at reopening sites for seven days a week, which will compensate for any closures.”

The SWP is drawing up proposals to consult the affected communities before the December board meeting.

Somerset council faces a £106m “black hole” in its finances over the next four years and is looking to make cuts of £30m during the next year.

Council leader John Osman said: “This is a very tough year for Somerset, and this first phase of savings has been incredibly difficult.”

In June, former resource minister Lord de Mauley commended the SWP for its efficiency and being able to save money.  

 

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