A Hampshire county councillor from Tadley has slammed the decision which triggered the on-going cross border waste war.
Hampshire County Council’s decision to withdraw a £200,000 contribution to West Berkshire Council for Hampshire residents to use the household waste recycling centres situated over the Berkshire border resulted in West Berkshire banning Hampshire residents from using its facilities.
West Berkshire Council’s resulting permit scheme – to be introduced at the end of September – will force those people living in Hampshire villages close to the Newtown Road centre to instead drive 15 miles to the Wade Road, Basingstoke, facility in Hampshire, triggering many environmental concerns, including fly-tipping.
Hampshire county councillor, Warwick Lovegrove (Lib Dem, Tadley and Baughurst) has since criticised the move by the Conservative-led county council.
Pointing out North Hampshire residents had used West Berkshire waste recycling facilities for many years, Mr Lovegrove said: “This must be allowed to continue unless and until an alternative site is provided locally.”
Hampshire residents otherwise faced a 40-minute drive to Wade Road, with long queues likely.
“Worse still, it is only open 11am to 4pm and is shut on Thursday, so many people have little chance to get there,” he said.
HCC, which will be holding elections next year, revealed in a recent statement that the voluntary £200,000 payment had been withdrawn as part of a county council target to slash £98m from budgets by 2017, owing to cuts in Government funding.
Hampshire County Council's executive member for environment and transport, Rob Humby (Con, Bishops Waltham) said his council was involved in constructive conversations with West Berkshire Council on the issue.
He added that potential transitional arrangements for Hampshire residents were in the pipleline.
A furious Mr Lovegrove said: “It seems that the Conservatives have woken up to the tide of anger among local residents, but they are still miles away from a solution.”
“It beggars belief that this process is being dragged out.
“How long does it take to agree to a sensible solution? Residents don’t need waffle, they need decisions and quick.
“How much money is going to be wasted on this extra bureaucracy and pass checking?
“Reading is going to ban West Berkshire residents from its tips; Hampshire will be banning people from Dorset and Surrey.
“It’s like a giant chain of dominoes.”
Figures for West Berkshire’s household waste recycling centre at Newtown Road show that 20 per cent of the usage is by Hampshire residents – a figure which doubles to 40 per cent at the Padworth recycling centre, which has also been affected by the move.
Last week, Newtown parish councillors also called for answers over the issue and Highclere Parish Council has written to the Government highlighting the matter as a breach of national policies.