Sat, 29 Jul 2017
HOPES that West Berkshire residents may once again be allowed to use a nearby recycling centre in Reading have been quashed, as the cross-border waste wars continue.
Bosses at waste management partnership re3, which manages the Smallmead tip in Island Road, Reading, had been considering the possibility of West Berkshire residents being able to use the facility on a pay-per-use basis.
However, members of the joint waste disposal board at re3, which runs the site on behalf of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham councils, have ruled out the prospect.
Now, re3 has said it has a “principle obligation” to the re3 area residents who pay for household waste disposal through their council tax, while also saying forecasted housing growth will mean that capacity at the recycling centres has to be carefully managed.
The decision means some residents living in areas such as Tilehurst, Calcot and Burghfield still face a 30-mile round trip to dispose of their household waste at Newbury’s Newtown Road recycling centre.
West Berkshire Council is currently in the process of expanding the Padworth Recycling Centre in order to provide a closer household waste recycling facility, but delays in the application process mean that the improvements are still expected to be some way off.
A spokeswoman for re3 said: “re3’s joint waste disposal board has decided, after careful consideration, to continue with the policy of allowing recycling centre access to residents from Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham only.
“Accordingly, West Berkshire residents will not be able to use the re3 recycling centres, for a charge or otherwise.”
The spokeswoman added: “re3 appreciates that this may be disappointing to some residents just outside of the re3 area, but West Berkshire Council’s proposed improvements to the Padworth site should, in time, help to address the concerns of those West Berkshire residents who live closest to the Reading recycling centre.”
The access restrictions were introduced in July 2016 after West Berkshire Council’s decision to stop paying for waste delivered to the re3 recycling centres by West Berkshire residents, which would have resulted in a £500,000 funding shortfall for re3.
re3’s decision to ban West Berkshire residents from its tips resulted in West Berkshire Council taking similar action against Hampshire residents to restrict access to its Newtown Road recycling centre.
Access to recycling centres in both re3 areas and West Berkshire is now only granted to those in possession of the relevant residents’ permits.
The cross-border ‘waste wars’ have been heavily criticised by residents, with many of those looking to dispose of their household waste now unable to use the recycling centre geographically closest to them.
Currently, the Padworth Recycling Centre in Padworth Lane only accepts recyclable waste.
However, a planning application has been submitted to allow non-recyclable household waste to be processed at the site.
Plans to expand the facility site to accept household waste were due to be decided in January, but had to be withdrawn at the 11th hour after a solicitor’s letter threatened legal action.
A new application was submitted in June.