Suffolk: Anger as council names seven waste sites to close in May

SUFFOLK County Council today named the seven waste recycling sites set to close as part of its cost-cutting drive.

The county wants to close seven of its 18 recycling centres in a bid to save �800,000 from its budget.

The move has proved very controversial with fears that it could lead to an increase in fly-tipping as people cannot be bothered to make long return journeys to dispose of waste responsibly.

The seven sites to close on the May 9 are: Beccles, Bramford, Brome, Chelmondiston, Ingham, Newmarket and Southwold.

Sites to remain open will be: Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Foxhall, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Ipswich, Leiston, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Stowmarket and Sudbury.

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Lisa Chambers, County Councillor with responsibility for Waste, said: “Working with our contractors, careful consideration has been given to which sites could close and we have been especially mindful to keep a good spread of sites across our rural county, as we know this is important to residents here in Suffolk.

“Our aim is to make sure the vast majority of Suffolk residents can get to a site in around 20 minutes drive time. We have also looked at factors such as the number of people using each site, recycling rates and the costs of running them.

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“We remain committed to reducing, reusing and recycling as much waste as possible.

“We are extremely proud that Suffolk residents have made this county one of the top recycling performers in the country, with over half our household waste recycled. We continue our ambitions to achieve 60% recycling rate by 2015.”

The council recognises the need to keep sites open over the Easter weekend (usually one of the busiest) and for the extra bank holiday on 29 April, so any closures would not happen until 9 May.

In response to concerns about an increase in fly tipping, Mrs Chambers said: “Fly tipping is both anti-social and illegal. We’ll be working with our partners in Suffolk’s district and borough councils to prosecute anyone who breaks the law in this way and we will make sure the area around any closed sites is kept free of rubbish.”

But the move has been greeted with scorn by some.

Liberal Democrat group deputy leader David Wood’s division includes Chelmondiston, one of the sites due to close.

He was furious not to have been given warning about the announcement: “The councillors have been treated with contempt by the administration.

“We were told we would know about this in advance, but we’ve been sent the press release at the same time as the media.

“From my own point of view, this is very bad news for Chelmondiston and the whole of the Shotley peninsula. I am very worried about the danger of flytipping here.”

Green group leader Andrew Stringer was relieved that the centre at Stowmarket would be retained, but was concerned about the threat to the Brome site.

He said: “That is used by people from a wide area. I do wonder about the claims to be the Greenest County if people have to create loads more CO2 to take their rubbish to the recycling centre.

“I fear this is more to do with slash and burn than heading towards the New Strategic Direction.”

- From 1 April 2011, the new opening hours will be:

April to September: 9am until 5pm – Monday to Saturday

October to March: 9am until 4pm – Monday to Saturday

All year round: 10am until 4pm - Sundays and bank holidays

The sites will close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, as usual.

Currently businesses cannot use the sites but to help them by giving them more options for disposing of their waste, it is proposed that Foxhall (near Ipswich) and Bury St Edmunds, will accept trade waste, for a charge, from 1 April 2011.

- Buy tomorrow’s paper for in-depth coverage and reaction.

- What do you think? We want to know - let us know by posting a comment below.

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