The decision by Powys County Council’s Cabinet to reduce the number of days which recycling centres in Newtown and Welshpool will be open has been criticised by Montgomeryshire AM Russell George.
Following the closure of Potters Yard Recycling Centre in Machynlleth and a recent Powys County Council consultation which has considered closing further recycling centres in Newtown or Welshpool, Mr George has been a fierce opponent of the proposals to reduce recycling provision in Montgomeryshire.
Following the feedback from the consultation and the general strength of feeling from residents on this issue, Powys County Council’s cabinet has now agreed to defer any decision to close recycling centres in the County, opting instead for a reduction in opening hours.
The local authority will now provide £200,000 to reduce the pressure on this service and a further £300,000 contribution has now been proposed for the 2017/18 financial year to allow alternative proposals to be developed in an effort to make the full savings from 2018/19.
Following Powys County Council’s cabinet decision on Tuesday, sites in Newtown and Welshpool will now open on a reduced basis with each site will now only open for three days (two weekdays and one day at the weekend).
The cost of a trade recycling permit will also increase from £150 to £200 and the use of commercial vehicles and large trailers will be restricted.
Mr George said:
“In recent months, I have been inundated with correspondence from concerned constituents who have reacted angrily at proposals to reduce the recycling provision in Powys.
“It is not acceptable for sites in Newtown or Welshpool to operate for just a few days a week. Both sites are very well used and this decision is a backward step.
“With the local authority confirming that it may have to revisit the prospect of closing further recycling centres in Powys, the future of our recycling provision is far from certain and with reduced opening hours, I am concerned at the long term impact this will have on our environment and recycling rates.
“There is serious concern that the proposed reduction in service could result in an increase in fly-tipping and a reduction in recycling rates in the area due to the inconvenience of potentially having to travel further to use the recycling services provided by Powys County Council.
“In my view, Powys County Council should now categorically confirm that none of the County’s recycling centres will be subject to closure and remove this option from the table.
“It is also my ambition to see a change in the law to ensure that everyone has access to a recycling facility within a reasonable distance from their home.
“I will continue to campaign for the Welsh Government to introduce these changes to the Environment Protection Act but in the meantime, I am keen to hear residents’ views on this important subject and would encourage everyone to answer a short online survey on recycling which can be found on my website at russellgeorge.com/recycling-survey to make your views known.”