New times for household waste centres to be discussed

The household waste recovery centre at Wooler.
The household waste recovery centre at Wooler.

Councillors are to discuss proposals to change the opening times of a small number of Household Waste Recovery Centres (HWRCs).

Due to ongoing central Government cuts, Northumberland County Council has been put in the challenging position of having to make savings of £58m in the next four years from a range of services.

At its meeting in February councillors agreed, as part of the authority’s medium term financial plan, a cut of £132,000 from the waste management budget for 2016/17.

The council is now carrying out a review of its household waste recovery centres, looking at reducing opening times at its five smallest sites, rather than closing any. Those under review are:- North Sunderland, Wooler, Allendale, Haltwhistle and Kirley West Thorne.

These sites, which deal with the lowest quantity of waste, are currently open seven days per week, 363 days each year from 8am to 7.30pm in the summer and 8am to 6pm in the winter.

Under the proposals the opening times would remain the same but the opening days would be reduced from seven days a week to four days a week, with the days being Friday to Monday inclusive.

A report into the proposals is going to the council’s communities and local services overview and scrutiny committee to be discussed on June 22

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services said: “We believe that the new opening arrangements will provide the majority of residents with ample opportunity to deliver waste to their local HWRC.

“The opening days and times at the other seven larger HWRCs will continue and are not affected by the proposals.”

The council will still maintain a comprehensive network of HWRCs across the county with access to a wide range of waste reuse, recycling, composting and disposal facilities.

The views of town and parish councils, along with area committees, into the proposed alternative opening arrangements are taking place in the affected areas before a final decision is taken.

It is envisaged that new opening arrangements could come into effect this autumn.