Waste recycling centre will close - council decision made

Campaigners against closure of the Leadenham Waste Recycling Centre outside County Hall. EMN-160314-165954001
Campaigners against closure of the Leadenham Waste Recycling Centre outside County Hall. EMN-160314-165954001

The Household Waste Recycling Centre at Leadenham is to close, councillors have today decided - despite opposition from residents including a 1,500 signature petition.

The site will close when the contract with FCC Environment, who own and operate it on behalf of the council, when the current contract expires at the end of this month.

Executive member for waste and recycling Coun Reg Shore said: “Our funding from central government is reducing and we need to scale back our spending on services by £170 million over the next four years. As part of this, waste services needs to play its part by cutting its annual waste and recycling budget by £400,000.

“Our policy is to make sure that 95 per cent of residents are within a 12 mile radius of a recycling facility, and the closure of these two facilities won’t affect that. Additionally, these sites are not owned by the council and both would require investment by the council to make improvements.

“Residents who previously took their recycling to the HWRC at Leadenham are encouraged to visit Sleaford instead, and those who used Whisby should visit the site at Great Northern Terrace in Lincoln.

“I understand this may mean slightly longer journeys for some people, but we have a responsibility to make best use of our budget and provide value to the taxpayer.”

Residents opposing the closure congregated at County Hall on Friday for the Environmental scrutiny committee meeting of the county council when the committee supported officer recommendations to close the recycling centres at Leadenham and Whisby.

They were then left waiting for Coun Shore to consider the views and make a final decision.

The committee accepted that these were difficult decisions and that it is regrettable that the council has to make any cuts to recycling, but faced with having to find savings of £42m for next year, and £170m over the next four years the decision had to be made. According to the officers’ report, as well as £25,000/year staffing costs, the Leadenham site would also require additional investment of around £50,000 to meet safety considerations plus improvements according to the Environment Agency costing around £150,000.

Coun Marianne Overton, local member for Branston and Navenby and leader of the Lincolnshire Independents, said: “The saving at Leadenham would be £25,000 a year if closed. It is visited by around 20,000 cars a year. Pretty well everyone has said they would pay a pound or two per visit, rather than driving to increasingly congested sites at Lincoln or Sleaford.”

She said: “We need cost-effective local facilities, like the ones we have. Some work is required to collect any water that comes out of the bottom of the skips. ”

She said she did not believe this to be a big job.

A 1,500-name petition had already been presented.