Report by Director of Communities, Economy and Transport
5.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport together with comments from the Place Scrutiny Committee Waste Review Board. The following people addressed the Cabinet on behalf of petitioners: Councillor Rowena Moore (Forest Row Household Waste Recycling site) and Councillors Anthony Dunnett and Graham Wells (Wadhurst Household Waste Recycling Site)
5.2 It was RESOLVED to –
1) i) introduce disposal charges for rubble, soil, plasterboard, asbestos and tyres and delegate authority to the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport, in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, to set appropriate charges to cover the disposal costs incurred by East Sussex County Council for non household waste;
ii) close the two part time Household Waste and Recycling Sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst with effect from 30 September 2018;
iii) reduce opening times at Lewes and Mountfield to 9am - 4pm daily; and
2) ask the East Sussex County Council Waste Team to continue to engage with Charitable Organisations currently using ESCC facilities for the disposal of their waste to understand the sources of this waste better and the impact the introduction of any restrictions may have on their organisations, and to report to the Lead Member for Transport and Environment on the findings and options for a Charity Waste Policy in the Autumn of 2018.
5.3 It is estimated that the savings target will be met if all the proposals are implemented. It is also known that there will be additional revenue budget pressures as funding levels decrease in future years. Therefore, the Cabinet has agreed that the following changes are made to the Household Waste Recycling Site (HWRS) service –
· Charges are introduced for rubble and soil, plasterboard, asbestos and tyres at all HWRSs
· Closure of the two part time HWRSs at Forest Row and Wadhurst
· Reduction in opening times at Lewes and Mountfield HWRSs to 9-4pm
5.4 We have considered all of the feedback and concerns received during the consultation process and do not feel that the proposals should be withdrawn as a result of the information that our stakeholders have provided. We have learnt of the strong desire for the community to investigate whether they can run a site and we will support by giving advice and guidance. We will also explore whether a full day closure at certain HWRSs might offer further efficiencies beyond a shorter working day. The changes to the HWRS service will enable East Sussex County Council to deliver required savings against its reduced waste budget.
5.5 The implementation of the proposals resulting from the Household Waste Recycling Site Review will enable the waste service to continue to provide high quality sites and a wide range of materials for recycling and disposal. The changes will also mean that East Sussex County Council continues to comply with its statutory obligations to provide sites that are reasonably accessible to residents of East Sussex and available for the free disposal of household waste.
5.6 East Sussex County Council only has a duty to accept residents’ household waste free of charge at a HWRS. This duty does not extend to rubble and soil, asbestos, tyres and plasterboard. Charging for a limited number of non-household waste types has been implemented by over a third of Councils and aligns the authority with a number of close neighbours. The likely charge of £4 per bag and £2 per tyre is in line with charges that other authorities make for these types of material, and the proposal relates to materials that most residents do not generate on a regular basis.
5.7 Analysis from the HWRS review shows that 98.4% of residents have access to a site within a 20 minute drive from their property. The agreed reduction in the network shows that 98.2% of residents would still have access to a HWRS within a 20 minute drive from their property.
5.8 East Sussex County Council will provide advice to other organisations who may wish to present a business case to take over the operation of the sites agreed for closure and seek to offer the land at peppercorn rent if appropriate.
5.9 Residents expressed the highest level of support for reducing opening times at the HWRSs, although this proposal delivers a smaller saving. Initially two sites have been identified as suitable for reduced opening. Discussions with Veolia have indicated that a full day closure at each site may offer higher savings, but full day closures did not form part of the public consultation.
5.10 ESCC wants to continue to be able to offer local Charities reasonable levels of support with waste disposal, but this should be framed by an agreed policy. Options will be presented later in the year when engagement with East Sussex charities has been completed.
5.11 ESCC will continue to closely monitor levels of flytipping and take appropriate action with all relevant partner authorities and agencies to ensure implementation of any proposals does not have a negative impact on the environment.