Waste site closure to go ahead

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

Skips at Leadenham recycling site, photographed by Coun Marianne Overton. EMN-160321-131721001
Skips at Leadenham recycling site, photographed by Coun Marianne Overton. EMN-160321-131721001

County councillors decided on Thursday the site will close, along with one at Whisby, at the end of this month when the contract with operators FCC Environment expires.

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.”

This would make an annual saving of £400,000.

He went on: “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 would instead visit Sleaford or Great Northern Terrace in Lincoln.

Coun Shore said: “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 the previous week for the Environmental Scrutiny Committee meeting of the county council when the committee supported officer recommendations for closure.

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

The committee accepted it was regrettable that the council has to make any cuts to recycling, but the decision had to be made faced with such cuts in funding.

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.

Around 1,500 people signed a petition to keep it open, many offering to contribute to the costs.

Marianne Overton, county councillor for Branston and Navenby, said: “Saving £25,000 closing a facility used by 20,000 vehicles per year is just daft. That puts residents on a 20-30 mile round trip each time, and that can’t be helpful to the risk of fly-tipping.

“Not having rural facilities is a town-centric approach, treating rural areas like second class citizens.”

She added: “The service could be devolved to a lead parish council, with support from others, a voluntary or commercial body.”