A consultation to decide the future of the 24 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) in Hampshire has been launched by the county council.
The review will look at the number, location and usage of HWRCs, with the purpose of cutting the current annual service costs of £10million. And the closure of “one or more sites” could be on the table.
However, the council has submitted alternative proposals to closure – with reduced opening hours, charging for the disposal of DIY waste and introducing measures to reduce the amount of trade waste wrongfully disposed of at HWRC sites.
In addition, the council has proposed working closer with the third sector to encourage reuse of materials that arrive at the HWRC network, with the possibility of an on-site presence for charities and voluntary groups.
“Services across the council have to find savings, and this is no exception. We have an excellent record for diverting waste from landfill in Hampshire, and we want to keep it that way,” said councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment.
“We’ve looked carefully at how residents are using HWRCs, the frequency of use and the type of waste disposed. We have some options that would either save money or generate income to offset costs, to ensure the service is sustainable in the long-term.
“What we need to do now, is find out from Hampshire’s residents what they think of these options, and hear what’s most important to people.”
The shake-up comes as Hampshire prepares to end its current HWRC contract with Hopkins Recycling Ltd on January 21 2015. The council believes a new deal will provide an “opportunity to introduce new services and policies” that can “deliver an income to recover some of the costs of the service”. It has yet to be confirmed whether Hopkins Recycling will retender for the contract.
Following its assessment of the HWRC network, the council has put forward six options for residents to consider:
• Closing one or more sites that do not represent good value for money;
• Introducing measures to reduce the amount of trade waste wrongfully disposed of at sites;
• Accepting waste from small local businesses for a fee;
• Charging for the disposal of DIY waste to help recover some of the cost of dealing with these waste types;
• Reviewing our site opening hours to negotiate lower management costs;
• Working with charities or communities to increase reuse of furniture and other items.
The consultation is due to close on August 22, with the outcome expected to be announced no later than November 14 2014. Meanwhile, any of the service changes decided will be phased in from April next year.