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Funding cuts prompt recycling centre closure proposals

Closing recycling centres and charging to bring waste are among measures proposed in a consultation launched by Buckinghamshire County Council as funding cuts put pressure on services.

Public sector cuts are forcing the council to review options for its household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). It has launched an eight-week consultation calling for views on “realistic” options for its 10 HWRCs to make them more affordable.

The local authority said that the centres were well used and extremely popular, but funding reductions meant that it was having to reduce costs across all its services.

It noted that it has a relatively high number of recycling centres serving its area and that, unlike some other councils, it does not charge to take wastes such as rubble, soil, plasterboard and car tyres.

Council cabinet member for planning and environment Bill Chapple 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.”

The consultation is calling for views on a number of options including closing one or two sites, including Bledlow and Burnham, and selected weekday closures on less busy days at other centres in Chesham and Aylesbury, as well as charging for certain wastes at all sites. The consultation is also seeking views on what residents think about the centres being used by people outside the county.

“I completely understand that people do not like being faced with extra charges. But 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,” Chapple added.

The council said it also planned to extend the operation of reuse so more can be recycled and sold, with the money going to charity.

The consultation runs until 22 October and final decisions are expected to be made by the cabinet later in the year.

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