HAMPSHIRE County Council (HCC) has confirmed that it is to keep the entire network of 24 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) in Hampshire open.

The decision follows a public consultation which has revealed alternative ways of making necessary funding cuts.

HCC has to make savings to meet a £98m funding shortfall by 2017, with £14.7m planned to be met from the Economy, Transport and Environment department’s budget.

Having examined the consultation responses, analysis and evidence on the future of Hampshire’s HWRCs Rob Humby, HCC executive member for environment and transport, has thanked all those who took the trouble to respond to the consultation which, he said, had helped to form the basis of the recommendations agreed during his Decision Day.

He said: “Hampshire’s residents told us very clearly that their priority was to keep all the HWRCs open and I am genuinely pleased that we have found a way to make this happen.

“We do need to save money in the running costs of the service this year, but we will do this by opening two hours later each day at 11am (outside of peak morning traffic times) and by closing on a Thursday.

“We’ve achieved additional savings through procurement of a new management contract; and we will also introduce a small charge for people living outside of Hampshire so they can continue to use our service. We will also be opening up the HWRC service for the first time for small businesses to use, on a chargeable basis.”

Said Mr Humby: “The cost of dealing with waste is significant, and there is still much work to do to minimise waste individually and collectively, from our homes and at the HWRCs, and to reuse and recycle as efficiently as possible. This includes tackling fly-tipping head-on which I know is a concern for Hampshire residents, as well as a financial and environmental issue for the county council. We will be working with a wide range of stakeholders including the Environment Agency, police, local authorities, rural representatives and trading standards on the next steps in dealing with this.”

Implementation of the changes will be phased in as follows:

Change to opening hours:

• From 1 January 2017, winter opening hours will be 11am – 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

• From 1 April 2017, summer opening hours will be 11am – 6pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday in summer.

Disposal of DIY and trade waste:

There will be no changes or charges for normal household waste, or recycling or green and garden waste. Household waste comprises the unwanted contents of the house and not part of the house itself. Household waste excludes waste generated by landscaping or garden alterations such as dismantling a rockery or digging up a patio/concrete hard standing.

However, from October 1, 2016:

• Soil, and rubble (including construction and demolition materials such as stone, rubble, clay, concrete, bricks, blocks, sand, tiles, paving slabs, and ceramic bathroom suites), gypsum (plasterboard) and asbestos will be ‘charged for’ items at HWRCs. This type of waste is expensive for the county council to dispose of and is not classified as household waste under the legislation. Additional materials that are also not classified as household waste may be charged for at a later date.

• Hampshire HWRCs will accept trade waste from small and medium sized businesses on a chargeable basis, accepting the same materials that the sites currently accept from residents.

• The trade waste initiative will only operate during the working week from Monday to Friday (although, from 1 January 2017, this will not be available on a Thursday when sites will be closed)

Non-Hampshire residents’ use of HWRCs:

• Residents from outside of Hampshire will continue to be able to use Hampshire HWRCs but from September 1, 2017, they will be required to pay £2 per visit to any HWRC in Hampshire.

Close to 12,000 Hampshire residents responded to HCC’s recent public consultation on how savings could be made in the running of household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Mr Humby’s full Decision Day report can be found at HWRC Service Efficiencies