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Councillor questions proposed closure of waste recycling centre

A PROPOSAL to close one of Carmarthenshire Council’s household waste recycling centres has been questioned by a member of the ruling administration.

Cllr Philip Hughes said he was worried that fly-tipping would increase if the Whitland facility was shut in 2021-22, as the council has proposed.

The matter was raised by Cllr Dorian Phillips during an environmental and public protection scrutiny meeting.

Cllr Phillips said he was “very worried” about the closure proposal, insisting that the Whitland facility was “very well-used” despite being a small site.
A council officer said there was no suggestion the site was under-performing, but he added that it was the smallest of the council’s household waste recycling centres and only accounted for 7% of their total waste.

Joining the discussion, Cllr Hughes, executive board member for public protection, said his concern was that closing the site would lead to more fly-tipping, which he said was already “on the way up”.

Questioning closure: Cllr Phillip Hughes

The Plaid-Independent administration is currently consulting the public on a series of savings measures for the next three financial years.

Finance chiefs are planning for £5.3 million of savings in the coming year, and a further £11.2 million in the two years after that. The environment department is expected to contribute nearly £4 million to this £16.5 million total.

Some of this will come from increased charges for things like car parking, where a 5% rise in 2020-21 is expected to raise an extra £167,000.
Routine mechanical road sweeping is expected to be cut back over the next two years, and three of Carmarthenshire’s so-called superloos – at St Clears, Ammanford and Llanelli town hall – could close in 2021-22.

Another proposal is to reduce Wernddu household waste recycling centre, Ammanford, from a seven-day to a five-day-a-week facility in 2021-22. No changes are planned at the other two waste sites at Nantycaws, near Carmarthen, and Trostre in Llanelli.

The committee also heard it cost £230,000 per year to provide residents with liners for their food caddy bins.
“It seems a staggering amount of money to me – do we really need them?” said Cllr Arwel Davies.

An officer replied that food waste accounted for nearly half the recyclable rubbish found in the average black bin bag.
And sending black bin bag rubbish to landfill for all councils is a very costly business.

Cllr Alan Speake said feedback from the public about the decompostable bin liners was positive.

Meanwhile, the council’s chargeable green waste service is losing money, but losses are expected at this stage – and the addition of a third collection vehicle should increase the customer base from 4,500 to 6,000.

A separate proposal to reduce school crossing patrols by not replacing departing lollipop staff at certain schools was queried by Cllr Jeanette Gilasbey, who wanted assurances that relevant traffic surveys had been carried out.

Head of highways, Stephen Pilliner, said this was the case and that councillors were welcome to see the data.
“It’s a national assessment criteria – and we have had conversations with the schools,” he said.

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