Controversial proposals to shut all of Norfolk’s recycling centres once a week – and to force people to book appointments to dump rubbish – will increase fly-tipping, critics have warned.

Leaders at Norfolk County Council have proposed shutting the 19 tips it runs on Wednesdays to save £200,000, as part of £52m cuts and savings aimed at balancing its books. Conservative leaders at County Hall also want to bring in timeslots people have to book to dispose of waste at tips – to save a further £200,000 each year.

Andrew Jamieson, the council’s deputy leader, said: “We are now having to look at putting a booking system in place, while we are looking to bring in no waste Wednesdays. Suffolk have already done that, so we will be coming into line with our neighbours. We haven’t just picked Wednesday out of thin air – that’s a day where the centres are used far less.”

Limiting when people visit tips will mean the council can spend less on staffing, but critics say it will also lead to less recycling – and potentially more fly-tipping.

Brian Watkins, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: “I think that will bring repercussions. I’d hate to think people would recycle less, but I think introducing a new booking system will make it more difficult for people to do that at tips. It is a worry that it could lead to more fly-tipping.”

Labour county councillor Terry Jermy said: “This will reduce access at a time when the council should be focussing on improving access and providing greater clarity about recycling options. Within the last week we’ve heard from local farmers and the County Landowners Association about how fly-tipping has become a real challenge. These proposals will only make that challenge more difficult.”

And Ben Price, Green group leader, said: “Closing recycling centres on Wednesdays and making it harder to dispose of waste responsibly through a booking system is a false saving. It will almost certainly lead to increases in fly-tipping which the district councils will need to clear away.”

Because consultation over closing tips on Wednesdays will not be finished by the time the council sets its budget next month, a separate decision on whether to go ahead with it, will be taken later.

(Source: Dereham Times)