Hundreds of residents sign petition against the 'slashing' of waste site opening hours

Hundreds of residents sign petition against the 'slashing' of waste site opening hours

Hundreds of residents sign petition against the 'slashing' of waste site opening hours

First published in News
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St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Almost 500 St Albans residents have signed a petition against proposals to "slash" waste sites opening hours.

Hertfordshire County Council is considering closing the St Albans and Waterdale Recycling centres for two days a week and cutting opening hours on other days.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate and environment spokesperson Sandy Walkington started a petition opposed to the 44 per cent reduction in opening hours.

He said: "It’s a one-size-fits-all axe, whether for the main St Albans site in Ronson’s Way or Waterdale or Harpenden - close each site for two days a week and only open at other times between 8am and 4pm.  

"If there need to be cuts, at least open at user-friendly times of the day. After all who goes to the tip at 8 am in the morning?"

Simon Wright was one of 485 who have signed the petition. He said: "This is unexpected and I can't see any justification for it, was there any observations that let to this being proposed? If so then lets see them. We have high targets for recycling and as far as I can see the residents are fully behind the initiative so why are we being rewarded with reduced opening times?"

The council is also considering closing two of its 17 recycling centres - including one in Allum Lane, Elstree.

The suggestions have been put forward as a way to save £6 million in eight years, but Radlett resident Clive Glover said he worries it will lead to more flytipping.

He said: "It seems crazy to consider shutting the Elstree recycling centre as it serves a large number of people in Hertsmere.

"The alternative sites are a long way from here, in Potters Bar and St Albans so would lead to longer journeys for everyone, more traffic and more fuel usage - which is hardly environmentally friendly. I would fear it would also lead to more fly-tipping from less-responsible people."

The county council has proposed the changes after hiring a new contractor, AmeyCespa, to run their centres.

Councillor Walkington added: "We will keep our petition open until the council meets to make its final proposals in September.

"The Conservatives at County Hall are going through the motions of a consultation.  Let’s make them sit up by showing that we won’t be bulldozed."

Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways and waste management, 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 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. If agreed, the changes suggested to our centres could mean that the service saves £6m over the next eight years.

"We’re aware that questions have already been raised about matters like opening hours, locations of other centres and fly tipping. The impact of the suggested changes has been considered and this information is available in the frequently asked questions section on our website.

"We want to create a more efficient and effective service which makes better use of your council tax."

Residents have until the end of this week to comment of the consultation, which can be found at: http://www.hertsdirect.org/wastechanges. The petition started by Councillor Walkington can be found at: http://chn.ge/1zpGmz2

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