RECYCLING centres will open their gates five days a week in a move that has been welcomed despite concerns about financial sustainability.
Powys County Council’s (PCC) Cabinet approved a recommendation to increase the opening days at the centres to five days a week, including weekends when it met on Tuesday.
It also agreed to introduce a permit scheme for residents to use commercial-type vehicles and trailers for their own household waste.
The new opening days will come into effect from Friday, September 1.
Councillor Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling, said: “We are committed to reducing waste and increasing recycling rates but the changes that were introduced in April sent out mixed messages and attracted considerable comments from residents and the county’s elected representatives.
“I’m pleased that the Cabinet has given the go-ahead to increase the opening days to five days a week including weekends and the introduction of a permit scheme for residents to use commercial-type vehicles and trailers for their own household waste.
“We will consider how to fund these changes but today’s decision shows that the Cabinet is committed to delivering changes for our residents and tackling the issues that cause the most concern.”
Liberal Democrat Leader on the council, Cllr James Gibson-Watt welcomes the move, yet is skeptical of how it will be implemented.
He said: “I am pleased that opening hours are going to be extended yet I still have come concerns.
“They have been stopping commercial vehicles. There is still a lot to be seen about how that system will operate.
“The other thing of course is that although there is a vague reference about taking money from reserves, that is not a sustainable position.
“They have to identify money for this year and coming years.”
Cllr Matthew Dorrance, Leader of Powys Labour Group is also pleased to see the centres open more often, but slammed the previous move.
He said: “It’s another example of the ruling groups in Powys County Council putting residents through unnecessary disruption.
“Labour Councillors have been fighting the reduction in opening hours.
“And this U-turn is welcomed.
“However, the Cabinet now need to explain how they intend to pay for it.”
A survey, held earlier this year by Assembly Member Russell George on recycling centres received 5,614 responses.
Mr George said: “My survey showed that 99 per cent of respondents opposed further recycling centres closing, and believed that service cuts should be found elsewhere.
“I sent the findings of my survey to Cllr Phyl Davies, the new Cabinet Member responsible for recycling at Powys County Council.
“Cllr Davies was elected to the Council in May and is new to this post; he was also part of a Welsh Conservative team of candidates who stood on a manifesto commitment to reverse the earlier decisions and increase the opening times at the ‘Potters’ sites again. I’m therefore pleased with the decision today.”
See full story in the County Times