Update: The following proposals were considered and agreed by the Council’s Cabinet on 26th June:
- the two part time sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst will close from 30th September 2018;
- the opening times at Lewes and Mountfield will be reduced to 9-4pm; and
- the County Council will introduce charges for the disposal of rubble, soil, plasterboard, asbestos and tyres;
In the consultation 86% of people who use Crowborough Household Waste Recycling Site said they found the proposal to keep the Crowborough facility open later at the weekend and close it at quieter times during the week acceptable, with just 7% of respondents finding it unacceptable.
A planning application has now been submitted to enable the site on Farningham Road to open longer hours at the weekend and on some Bank Holidays. The public have until 10th August to comment.
Residents are being asked whether the recycling site on Farningham Road in Crowborough should be open in the afternoon at weekends and closed at quieter times in the week.
It is among a set of proposals being considered to save £500,000, including charging for the disposal of certain types of waste and closing the sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst. Reductions in Government funding, and rising demand for services means East Sussex County Council has to cut £17 million from its 2018/19 budget. The waste service annual budget will be reduced by £720,000, of which savings of £558,000 will need to be made in 2018/19.
The recycling sites at Crowborough and Eastbourne close in the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are the busiest time for the sites. So the County Council think opening the Crowborough and Eastbourne sites all day at weekends, and closing those sites during the less busy hours or days in the week, would be more convenient for residents.
What changes are proposed?
Proposals put forward for public consultation include:
- Charge for certain waste types that are not ‘household waste’, i.e. rubble (£4 a bag), soil, plasterboard and asbestos (£6 per sheet) and tyres (£2 each).
- Close the part-time recycling sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst.
- Change recycling site opening hours at Crowborough and Eastbourne to better suit demand.
- Improve the layout of Hailsham recycling site
This Government does not allow the Council to charge an entry fee to recycling sites. However as part of the questionnaire residents are being asked if this changed in future, would they be prepared to pay a small entry fee (for example, £1 per visit) to enter the Household Waste Recycling Site, in order to prevent further reductions to the service.
Rupert Clubb, the county council’s director for communities, economy and transport, said:
We need to make significant savings this year to cover the funding gap, and have to look at the way we deliver all council services to ensure that we are fulfilling our statutory duties and protecting the most vulnerable.
It costs nearly £10 million a year to run our 12 household waste recycling sites, and to recycle and dispose of the waste. A thorough review has highlighted areas where savings can be made, while maintaining a good service which allows residents to recycle as much as possible.
The household waste recycling site on Farningham Road in Crowborough is currently open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am until to 1pm.
The County Council have said they have looked carefully at evidence from councils who have made similar changes to those they are proposing, including Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex. They saw no increase in fly-tipping, or just a slight increase in line with national trends. They have not found clear evidence to show that residents will fly-tip if they can not use a site, or if they have to pay for something that used to be free. To reassure residents they have said in the questionnaire that if they make site changes, they will check local fly-tip data for signs of an impact.
Mr Clubb added:
The possible impact of the options put forward has been considered. We want to make sure waste is kept to a minimum and recycling rates remain high, while the service operates within its limited budget.
We don’t expect a reduction in the recycling rates as a result of any of the proposals, and there is no clear evidence to suggest that the measures will increase fly-tipping.
We now need to understand how people think these proposals will affect them, and I would encourage residents to look at the detail of the proposals and make their views known during the 12-week consultation period.
Taking into account feedback from the consultation, final proposals will be presented to Cabinet later this year for discussion and approval.
Have Your Say
Residents can give their views by completing the online survey by midnight on Tuesday 15th May 2018 at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay.