Wed, 22 Jun 2016
A WASTE war sparked by West Berkshire Council’s decision to stop paying into a partnership with other local councils has broken out among neighbouring authorities.
Plans to ban residents from outside the district using its waste disposal facilities have been revealed, seemingly in response to West Berkshire’s own residents being banned from using a tip in Reading.
The series of events began in March when West Berkshire Council voted to stop its contribution of £460,000 to re3 as it struggled to find a total of £17.5million in savings.
This prompted the remaining re3 partners, Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham councils, to introduce a permit system effectively barring residents outside of these districts from using the Smallmead recycling facility which lies across the district boundary in Reading.
And now West Berkshire Council hopes to bring in its own new permit scheme which will see residents issued with a free vehicle permit to access the recycling centres in Newtown Road, Newbury and at Padworth.
According to the council the new proposals, which are set to be discussed at an executive meeting next week, are being considered following a decision by Hampshire County Council to cease funding towards Hampshire residents who currently use West Berkshire facilities.
West Berkshire Council say that Hampshire residents currently account for 40% of the waste taken to Padworth recycling centre and almost 20% of the waste taken to the Newtown Road centre and without the additional funding from Hampshire, the cost of disposing of this waste now falls to West Berkshire council taxpayers putting an additional strain on the waste service.
The council has also said it will be exploring the potential to extend the Padworth recycling centre, which currently only accepts recyclable materials, with some residents now facing a 30-mile round trip to Newbury in order to dump their household waste.
In May a spokesperson for re3 said it wasn't fair to ask residents to pay, via their council tax, for the disposal of the waste of those who live outside of the re3 area.
And now, in a similar statement, executive member for Communities and Protection Marcus Franks said it was not fair for West Berkshire residents to pay for the disposal of waste from outside of their area.
He said: "Our recycling centres have to dispose of a large amount of waste from outside the district.
”We used to receive payment towards the cost of its disposal but now this has stopped we have to think about our local residents.
“It would be unfair for them to begin subsidising waste disposal from other districts.
“We also feel it wouldn't be right to accept an increased pressure on our own budgets at a time when there are still further savings to be found in the coming years.
"It is because of this that we have to consider introducing a permit scheme.
“Alongside this is a proposal to consider investing further in our Padworth facility and upgrading that facility for local residents.
"This will give communities in the east of the district more convenient access to a recycling centre able to take more types of waste.
"This is something residents have asked for in recent weeks and now is the right time to review the service provided at Padworth.”
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News in May after hearing the news that West Berkshire residents would not be able to use Smallmead tip, ward councillor for Theale and leader of the opposition on West Berkshire Council, Alan Macro, claimed more should have been done before the scheme comes into effect on July 1.
“It’s going to be quite a problem,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy in terms of the distance and fuel but also on the environment.
“I’m a bit frustrated that more wasn’t done to upgrade the Padworth site, to be ready for when the changes come in.
“The council hasn’t really done very much to warn people of the changes either.”
The decision for West Berkshire Council to pull out of the re3 partnership also prompted fears over an increase in fly-tipping which have been played down by the council.
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