Councils collaborate for temporary West Berkshire tip solution
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s calls to Hampshire County Council to rethink a decision to remove funding for some of the borough’s residents to dispose of their waste and recycling at West Berkshire’s recycling centre have been listened to.
The borough and county council have agreed to jointly fund the permits as a short term solution until July 2021, reducing additional pressure on the busy tip at Wade Road in Basingstoke and supporting both councils’ climate emergency targets to reduce carbon emissions.
The joint arrangement is designed to allow time to find a longer term solution which may see West Berkshire Council setting up a system for Basingstoke and Deane residents to use the Newbury centre for a £5 charge and Hampshire County Council exploring the opportunity of a new Household Waste Recycling Centre for residents in the north of the borough.
The funding decision was taken under the borough council’s urgency powers in consultation with all group leaders. County council Leader Keith Mans approved their part of the funding and next steps for a longer term solution at his Policy and Resources Decision Day today (Wednesday 29 July).
Since 2017, borough residents living near to West Berkshire’s Newtown recycling centre have been issued a permit funded by the 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 county council’s Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment’s Decision Day on 2 July, it was agreed to stop this £170,000 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 August.
The borough council’s lead for waste and recycling objected to the proposed cut in funding and 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. Working together, both the borough council and the county council have agreed to the short term solution alongside West Berkshire Council.
Borough council Leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “Since we became aware of this decision we have urged the two authorities responsible for household waste recycling centres in Hampshire and West Berkshire to work with us to find a solution that avoids more unnecessary car journeys and extra pressure on an already busy tip at Wade Road in Basingstoke.
“I am pleased to say we have worked with Hampshire County Council and West Berkshire Council to find a temporary solution to allow residents to continue to use the facility in Newbury until a longer term solution can be found.
“It is not our responsibility to fund household waste recycling centres and we made it very clear we wanted the county council to continue to support the original agreement and not cut funding. This was not achievable, therefore we have both agreed to support this short term arrangement. As a council we take our pledge to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030 very seriously and our goal is to reduce carbon emissions and not increase them. We believe efforts to achieve this reduction should be at the heart of every decision we take and is why we have agreed to work alongside the county council and support this arrangement temporarily.
“I must stress this is a temporary solution and not one that can be sustained by the borough council. We will continue to look to both authorities in Hampshire and West Berkshire to find a permanent and sensible solution in discussion with us which includes exploring the provision of a new household waste recycling centre in Hampshire to serve the north of the borough.”