County border tip cuts cause carbon concern
Cabinet Member for the Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus is urging the two neighbouring authorities responsible for Household Waste Recycling Centres to find a solution that meets the needs of residents in the north of the borough following the county council’s decision to remove funding for some Basingstoke and Deane residents to access recycling facilities over the border.
Since 2017, residents living near to West Berkshire’s Newtown recycling centre have been issued a permit funded by Hampshire County Council to dispose of their waste and recycling at these sites, rather than travelling up to 30 or 40 miles to visit county council facilities in Basingstoke or Andover.
But at the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment’s Decision Day yesterday (2 July), it was agreed to stop this £175,000 payment to West Berkshire, leaving a large section of the borough’s residents no choice but to travel long distances to dispose of their waste and recycling from 1 August.
The borough council has strongly objected to the proposed cut in funding since it was put forward and has appealed to both authorities to find a solution that meets the needs of residents close to the border and doesn’t impact on the environment.
Last September the borough council declared a Climate Emergency, along with many local authorities across the country, including the county council. The borough council has set ambitious targets to achieve a carbon neutral borough by 2030. A carbon emissions strategy is being drawn up and the borough council has been clear everyone needs to play their part to reduce carbon emissions in the borough.
Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “It is extremely disappointing that we could find ourselves taking a backwards step towards achieving our climate emergency targets not only in Basingstoke and Deane but as a county and country.
“This agreement between West Berkshire and Hampshire County Council demonstrated a real common sense approach for our residents in the north of the borough, providing them with access to a recycling centre close to where they live rather than up to a 40 mile drive. Removing this funding and ending this agreement puts more pressure on the already busy county council household recycling centre in Basingstoke and means more unnecessary long journeys will have to be taken.
“I am urging the two authorities to talk again and talk with us to find a solution. While I fully understand every penny of council tax payers’ money needs to be carefully considered, we have all committed to reducing our climate emissions and this has be a key factor in any decision made by all authorities.”