Today, the number of signatures of the petition to save the household recycling centre (HRC) passed 8,000. Thank you everyone. If you haven’t signed there is still time:

Shropshire Council has now said that the closures, approved by Conservative councillors on a five vote majority, may not happen. Ian Nellins, the portfolio holder for waste and recycling has now said all options for cutting the costs of the HRCs rather than closing them are being looked at.

I have proposed increasing the proposed charge for green waste by £8 a year to pay to keep the HRCs open. The council is looking at other options, such as closing each of the HRCs up to two days a week but ensuring that all are open at weekends. It is currently discussing options and costs with Veolia.

This is welcome news.

Chris Naylor, Richard Huffer and Tracey Huffer

The background to the petition is a proposal within a £62 million round of cuts to council spending to save £300,000 a year by closing two out of the five HRCs. With Shrewsbury Battlefield HRC seemingly protected, two others could be chosen out of Bridgnorth, Craven Arms, Oswestry or Whitchurch. Campaigns are underway to save Whitchurch and Oswestry, with North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan leading. Bridgnorth residents and councillors are gearing up to save their HRC. In the south west, there has been no word from Philip Dunne, who has of late cast himself as an environmental champion (and he has been quite good at it). The man anointed by the Conservatives to be his successor, Stuart Anderson, is equally silent.

My question to cabinet and response from Ian Nellins

The opposition to the closure of two household recycling centres to save £300K a year has been strong. A petition to save the Craven Arms HRC gained more than 5,000 signatures on the day it was launched. In contrast, the opposition to the proposal to charge for green waste collection has not been as strong.

We are a very large county and increasing the distance people have to drive to the HRC will discourage recycling, encourage fly-tipping and go against the council’s ambitions to become net zero.

Can I preface all of my answers with a general statement simply to reassure everyone that whilst the 2024/25 budget includes series of individual actions or areas where we are looking to achieve cost reductions, in delivering those savings we are focussed on trying to mitigate the impact as far as possible. So, yes, we do have to deliver savings, but we are exploring all possibilities as to how we achieve them.

Current HWRC provision levels

The Council has a statutory duty to provide sites at which residents can deposit their household waste free of charge and that are reasonably accessible to residents. The legislation does not specify how many sites an authority should provide and therefore the responsible authority is able to determine what is reasonably accessible based on local circumstances.

Could the cabinet ask officers to look again at this proposal and consider other options to achieve the same saving? These might include:

1) Examining increasing the proposed charge for collecting green waste from £52 a year to £60 a year – a measure than could raise £600K a year and cost 15p a week.

There is presently no statutory duty to collect garden waste and whilst some councils collect free of charge the majority now charge for the service. There is no specific legislation that dictates what a council can charge, but charges are set on each councils’ individual circumstances such as, cost of providing the service, local budget constraints and demand. The revenue generated can be used to offset other budget pressure and support the delivery of existing services.

To identify the required saving within the budget setting process a proposed charge of £52 was used for this basis however, several options in terms of charges were also provided by officers. This represents value for money when benchmarked against other authorities within our CIPFA group and equated to £1 per week. This will now be subject to public consultation and following the responses received both Cabinet and Council approval will be required, giving ample opportunity for representations to be made.

2) Examining whether reducing the hours or the days that some HRCs are open would lead to savings that could help keep all five HRCs open.

This has previously been discussed with our contractor Veolia, but we have now requested that a detailed assessment of the costs and savings of the option to close all five sites for up to two days per week, although there will be some provision through the week all sites will still be open on a weekend.

3 thought on “Council Cuts: Hope of saving Craven Arms Household Recycling Centre”
  1. Bear in mind that Shropshire Council and the County Council before it has form in cost cutting methods: usually they propose to cut something, there’s an outcry and they put off the decision; then come back a year later and try again. Usually the opposition to it this time is much reduced and people just submit to it. So be warned…

  2. We moved up from Surrey 3 years ago and we were paying £86/year for our green bin; I ensured it was always full each fortnight . Although the price was high I do accept that some people don’t have the privilege of a garden so, why should they pay for the garden waste, I would accept a nominal charge. Our nearest recycling facility was 1.5 miles away but, we were outside of the Greater London boundary so had to drive 8 miles (16 round trip) to the next nearest place so, we bought a shredder (noise pollution) and a garden incinerator (more pollution). The CA facility is a great asset to the area with lovely, friendly and helpful staff. It would be a great loss to the area not just for the convenience of garden waste disposal but all other types of items. Also, where would the bin trucks go? Surely it would impede on our collections if they have to go all the way to Bridgenorth to empty and then return to complete their rounds? Does Bridgenorth have the capacity to cope with the extra volume?

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