Published: March 21, 2011
MP attacks decision to cut Highbridge recycling centre's hours

Burnham's MP has this week attacked County Council proposals to introduce charges and slash the opening hours at Highbridge Recycling Centre as part of ongoing cost-cutting moves.

During a formal visit to the centre at
Highbridge's Isleport Industrial Estate, Tessa Munt praised staff for the professional service they provide, and said the county council's cutbacks are "incredibly short-sighted."

Somerset Waste Board is scheduled to meet this Friday (March 25th) to make a final decision on whether to proceed with proposals to cut its opening hours and introduce new charges for certain types of waste in order to save the county council £1.9m over two years across Somerset.

Tessa told "If the recycling services are not available, all that will happen is more rubbish will be fly-tipped by roads, creating extra costs for the council to have it removed. Alternatively, people will simply not recycle their waste and increasingly put it in dustbins instead, which is also counter-productive."

"It's very short-sighted and unnecessary for the council to be cutting back the service in this way without looking at the wider knock-on implications."

From 4th April, the Isleport centre will close for two days a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

It will be open from 8am-7pm on Mondays, 8am-4pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It will also open on Sundays from 8am-1pm.

New charges are also set to be introduced from 4th April at the centre.
These will range from £6-£35 for various sizes of gas bottles; £3.30-£4.20 for car tyres and £45.60 for 'general commercial' tyres; and £14.50-£116 for different loads of soil or rubble.

Somerset County Council decided earlier this year that around £1.9 million in savings over two years should come from waste cut-backs across the county.

Four recycling centres at Crewkerne, Coleford, Dulverton and Middlezoy are under threat of closure, although it has been proposed that they could stay open if users pay £2.50 per visit.

While Highbridge's centre is not under threat of closure, its opening hours will be reduced from 56 in winter and 70 in summer to 40 hours year-round if the proposals get the go-ahead this Friday.


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