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Derbyshire council is reducing opening hours at waste sites during latest cost-saving plans

Derbyshire council is to introduce cost-saving efficiency changes at its nine household waste recycling centres including reduced opening hours, new charges to dispose of tyres and asbestos, and a trial scheme to allow small businesses to pay to use two of the centres.

The Conservative-led council – which recently announced plans to set a balanced budget for the 2024-25 financial year with cost-saving measures to overcome an estimated budget deficit of over £39m – agreed at a cabinet meeting on March 14 to introduce new measures at its household waste recycling centres.

Changes will be part of cost-saving plans following large increases in waste disposal at its nine sites and after a multi-million pound out-of-court settlement payout by the council and Derby City Council following a dispute with a waste management team.

Deputy Council Leader, Cllr Simon Spencer, who is also the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and the Budget, told the meeting that it must be recognised ‘what a superb service’ the council offers.

He said: “We are conscious of the fact we need to maintain that service and make sure it remains superb for the people of Derbyshire.

“There was not a clear-cut recommendation for any particular direction of travel but we have taken a pragmatic approach to the need to make a saving.

“In making this proposal we are not only clearly talking about a reduction in hours, we are talking about an enhancement in our provision for small businesses.”

The planned changes to Derbyshire’s household waste recycling centres surfaced after a 32 per cent increase in the amount of waste collected at the sites since 2017 and 2018 was recorded which has risen to 85,000 tonnes a year, costing an extra £700,000 to £800,000 in annual disposal and recycling costs.  

The decision to introduce the changes followed consideration of a 12-week public consultation which was held from October last year.

They include charging a fee to dispose of tyres and asbestos set at £4 per tyre and £6 per sheet of asbestos.

Other changes include continuing to operate the recycling centres seven-days-a-week but reducing the opening hours by two hours each day at eight of the centres when they are typically less busy.

The new opening hours will be 9.30am – 5pm each day – except at Buxton where the current hours of 8.30am – 6pm will remain due to different contractual arrangements at that site.

And lastly, a trial scheme is to be introduced to allow registered small businesses and sole traders to pay to use two of the recycling centres to dispose of business waste outside of the hours the centres are open to the public.

A detailed plan for this trial at the two centres in Bolsover and  Ashbourne will be presented to the cabinet at a later date for final approval.

If the trial at these two centres is successful the council intends to roll this out across the county at a later date.

Cabinet members also previously approved plans to spend up to £200,000 to install an Automatic Number Plate Recognition System at its waste sites which will not only identify vehicle interlopers from outside Derbyshire using the county’s waste sites but will also allow them to be charged.

This followed a notable increase in the amount of waste recorded at Derbyshire’s waste sites while neighbouring councils outside Derbyshire also began introducing measures to restrict people living outside of their areas from using their recycling centres, according to the council.

Following analysis of the ANPR system, the council will also consider whether the council should adopt the Government definition on the limited amounts of DIY waste that can be disposed of at recycling centres for free which is not more than four drop-offs over four-weeks for construction waste with limits on the quantities.

The Government limit that is allowed for residents taking construction waste to a site in one drop-off is up to two 50 litre rubble bags or one bulky item approximately no larger than a bathtub.

Cllr Carolyn Renwick, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, told the cabinet meeting the waste management public consultation had attracted 2,876 responses including 40 from businesses.

The consultation revealed that 83per cent of residents, who took part, and 80per cent of businesses, who took part, agreed that businesses should be able to use recycling centres for a charge.

Around two thirds of respondents, or 66per cent, stated that they would prefer recycling centres to continue to accept tyres without charge, and a similar proportion, at 69per cent, stated they would prefer that asbestos continued to be accepted for free.

However, 90per cent of respondents said they would prefer a small charge to the sites not accepting these materials at all.

And 78per cent of respondents said they would prefer to reduce opening hours overall and keep the centres open seven-days-a-week, rather than maintain the current daily opening-hours over fewer days.

Cllr Renwick said: “We’re constantly looking for ways to make the services we provide more efficient and effective.
“Having listened to the views of residents, we’re making some changes which we believe strike the right balance between continuing to provide a good quality service for residents, offering a service to help small businesses and sole traders and making savings.”

Cabinet members previously approved plans to spend up to £200,000 to install an ANPR system at waste sites which will not only identify vehicle interlopers from outside Derbyshire using the county’s waste sites but will also allow them to be charged. 

The council runs nine recycling centres across the county for Derbyshire residents and these sites accept household waste only and are currently open seven-days-a-week from 8.30am to 6pm, except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. 

These include Chesterfield, Bolsover, Loscoe, Northwood at Darley Dale, Waterswallows near Buxton, Ilkeston, Glossop, Ashbourne, and Bretby.

No date has yet been set for when the new agreed changes will come into force, according to the council, but plans are being drawn-up for them to be introduced later this year.

The council previously announced in July, 2023, that it had agreed to pay out a £56.93m share of a total £93.5m pay out with Derby City Council to Resource Recovery Solutions’ waste management team’s administrators to resolve a dispute after the local authorities had terminated a contract with the waste management team to manage a waste facility in Sinfin, Derby.

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