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Norfolk recycling centre hours cut

PUBLISHED: 09:33 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:28 03 July 2010

AS a new £1m recycling centre gets ready to open in mid-Norfolk, another could close and five others have their opening hours slashed under cost saving measures being considered by Norfolk County Council.

AS a new £1m recycling centre gets ready to open in mid-Norfolk, another could close and five others have their opening hours slashed under cost saving measures being considered by Norfolk County Council.

Under new budget proposals Docking recycling centre would be closed completely and while centres at Bergh Apton, Wells, Snetterton, Wereham and Wymondham would only operate part time.

The council says the move would save £225,000 a year, but that much of the saving will be offset by the estimated annual £200,000 operating costs of a long awaited £1m recycling facility, which due to open in Dereham this autumn.

However, Green Party councillor Andrew Boswell warned last night that the move would lead to more people having to make longer journeys in cars weighed down with rubbish and lead to greater fly tipping problems.

He said: “It is unfortunate to be closing facilities so that people have to travel further to recycle waste.

“Extending the distance people have got to travel, and reducing the availability, almost certainly will result in increased fly tipping.”

Removing and disposing of fly tipped rubbish is a problem dealt with and paid for by district councils and Mr Boswell said there needed to be “much greater consultation between the county and district councils to make sure they are working in the same direction.”

Amidst a range of financial concerns, the county council says its environment and waste budget is under particular pressure because landfill tax increases will put up waste disposal costs by £1.5m in the next financial year.

It says the savings are being made as part of an ongoing development programme, which involves building larger, more modern facilities and closing small and less efficient sites.

Docking is the least used of Norfolk's 19 sites and residents will be redirected to Heacham and Hempton while the five other sites will be closed on the days they are used least.

Ian Monson, cabinet member for environment and waste at Norfolk County Council, said: “Like every council in the country, we are facing difficult choices, but it is worth bearing in mind that if it were not for the additional cost of having to meet the EU landfill tax directive, we would be delivering a balanced budget and facing much easier choices.

“Our commitment to the promotion of recycling across the county remains unchanged. There are many initiatives to encourage us to recycle more and with these continuing, we estimate that the excellent recycling rates we have already achieved in Norfolk will continue to increase.

“Despite these savings, there continues to be a gap in the Environment and Waste budget which will have to be considered by Cabinet before the final budget is set.”

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