County tips to stay open, but opening days may still be cut

Waste recycling at the Cupid Green depot, Hemel Hempstead
Waste recycling at the Cupid Green depot, Hemel Hempstead

All of Hertfordshire’s 17 waste recycling centres should remain open, a county council panel has recommended.

Yesterday, the Highways and Waste Management Panel agreed none of the county’s waste recycling centres should close, but further recommendations suggested that opening days and hours should still be changed.

The cross-party panel discussed the findings of a recent consultation on changes proposed by new county contractor AmeyCespa to the area’s recycling centres, in order to help meet an estimated £147million saving across the local authority’s services.

The firm had been asked to put forward suggestions to improve efficiency and save money, while still reducing waste, improving rates of reuse and recycling and maintaining a reliable service for residents.

Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways and waste management, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond to our consultation on AmeyCespa’s proposals.

“We promised all along that we would listen to our residents and that no decisions had been made, which is reflected in today’s recommendations.

“The consultation responses have confirmed that residents are, in particular, reluctant to see any site closed. In light of this, the panel has recommended that no site is closed entirely.”

Other proposals debated by councillors could see the dumps, including Hemel Hempstead’s Cupid Green depot and Berkhamsted’s on Northbridge Road, losing two of their opening days, though not at weekends, as part of changes hoped to save £6million over the next eight years.

Mr Douris said: “Over the last four years, we have worked hard to deliver savings totalling £149m across the council while protecting essential frontline services.

“Due to further significant reductions in national funding and increasing demand for key services such as adult social care and children’s services, the county council needs to save a further £147m over the next four years. I appreciate that some residents didn’t want any changes to their local centres, but we have to make financial savings.

“The fairest way of doing this, having considered all the consultation responses, is through changing the operational hours at all the sites.”

The recommendations will now go to Cabinet on 22 September 2014 for a final decision.

A copy of the panel paper, which includes a summary of the consultation findings, is available at www.hertsdirect.org/your-council/civic_calendar/highwayswastecp/18311969/