Tue, 14 Jul 2020
TWO Basingstoke and Deane borough councillors have blasted Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) decision to stop paying for North Hampshire residents to use West Berkshire household waste recycling centres (HWRC).
Council leader Ken Rhatigan (Con, Kingsclere) and councillor Clive Sanders (Con, East Woodhay) have called for the decision to be reconsidered and a compromise reached.
Mr Rhatigan, who lives in Ashford Hill and will be affected by the decision, said it was a “slap in the face” for the households affected and that it was a “climate emergency scandal”.
He said: “It’s a huge slap in the face for my residents and economically it’s bad news for Newbury and West Berkshire.
“It’s ridiculous to get people who are 300 yards from the border to go on a 30-mile round trip to Basingstoke.
“Where is the climate change emergency all of us have declared in that?”
Mr Rhatigan argued that a compromise should have been reached between the two unitary authorities, and that Basingstoke and Deane would have been happy to contribute.
He said: “The reality is we are three weeks away from not having a facility for my residents and that cannot be right.
“We’d have been happy paying £52,000 and Hampshire topping that up.
“That’s all up for negotiation, but we can’t afford, in this Covid world, to find £175,000 for 5,000 residents.
“This is a climate emergency scandal, quite frankly.
“They’re penalising domestic people who want to do the best for their community and for the future of the planet.”
Mr Sanders pointed out that the northern part of Hampshire was already badly served by the county council in relation to recycling centres and said that Hampshire and West Berkshire should be “ashamed” of their inability to find a solution benefitting the residents.
Mr Sanders said: “The man from Mars would find it clear stupidity for residents to be forced to make 30- to 40-mile round trips to dispose of waste when an HWRC is on their doorstep.
“It is bureaucratic madness that drives a coach and horses through any policy to reduce emissions.
“It is equally financially incompetent of West Berkshire to imagine that when the HCC subsidy is withdrawn, they are somehow going to make £175,000 of savings.
“How many redundancies will there need to be at Newtown Road to recover the lost revenue?
“Neither council emerges from this ridiculous stand-off covered in glory, but it is the council taxpayers in both Hampshire and West Berkshire who will finish up suffering.”