Fri, 27 May 2016
SOME West Berkshire residents may be facing a 30-mile round trip to dispose of household waste when a new permit scheme is introduced at Smallmead tip.
The household waste disposal site, located in Reading, is widely used by residents in Burghfield, Mortimer, Theale and other villages on West Berkshire’s eastern boundary.
However, earlier this year West Berkshire Council decided to stop paying into the re3 partnership, which runs the site, in a bid to save around £97,000 per year.
The waste partnership, which is now funded by the three remaining councils, Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest, says, as a result, a new permit scheme will be introduced in an effort to stop residents living outside these areas from using the site.
The scheme, which will see similar changes to the Bracknell waste disposal site, will also introduce charges for anyone disposing of waste in commercial vehicles.
Free vinyl permits will be posted to residents in re3 areas to be displayed in their windscreens, however other forms of ID may also be accepted to gain access to the facility.
Anyone without a valid permit or ID will be turned away by specially-employed “meeters and greeters”.
The changes are expected to cost around £300,000 but will ultimately save the partnership more than £800,000 per year, according to re3 bosses.
The move means that, from June 30, West Berkshire residents will have to use the recycling centre at Padworth, or face a 30-mile-round-trip to the Newbury facility to dispose of general household waste.
Bracknell Forest’s executive member for environment and chair of the Joint Waste Disposal Board, Dorothy Hayes MBE, said: “The introduction of the ID and visitor permit scheme has been prompted by West Berkshire Council’s decision to end the joint agreement they had with re3.
“It would not be fair to ask re3 residents to pay, via their council tax, for the disposal of the waste of those who live outside of the re3 area.”
District councillor for Burghfield, Carol Jackson-Doerge, pointed out that the decision to stop West Berkshire residents using the site was not made by West Berkshire Council and that she is working to find a suitable alternative solution.
She said: “I will be working actively to persuade the council to upgrade the Padworth site to a full waste disposal site, which will be much easier to use for the residents affected.”
Ward councillor for Theale and leader of the opposition on West Berkshire Council, Alan Macro, said more should have been done before the scheme comes into effect.
“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.”
Since the announcement, many residents have raised concerns about a potential increase in illegal fly tipping, something which council bosses admitted was “likely” when proposing the change in March.
However, West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “We understand that other councils with similar restrictions on their sites have not found this to be the case.
“However, enforcement is in place and fly tipping in public land will be cleared and investigated.”