Booking system at council’s tips comes under fire
Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter
Plans to trial a booking system at a council’s tips have come under fire from councillors who believe the proposal could lead to more fly-tipping.
The measure is part of Caerphilly County Borough’s new draft waste strategy, aimed at improving recycling rates and avoiding £2 million in fines.
Cuts to kerbside bin collections, a new system for sorting recycling, and the closure of two tips have also been proposed.
A booking system was rejected previously by Caerphilly Council’s cabinet, but revived by a cross-party working group set up last September to find solutions to the area’s waste woes.
But at a joint scrutiny committee meeting on Monday January 15, a majority of members voted to recommend to the cabinet that the booking system trial should be scrapped.
Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge led calls for the council to abandon the proposal.
He told colleagues “none of us wants to be fined £2 million” for missing recycling targets, but said introducing a trial booking system at Caerphilly’s tips should be “shelved”.
Plaid Cymru’s Judith Pritchard, who sat on the working group, also disapproved. She said the group’s members had backed reintroducing the policy by four votes to two.
A booking system would be “very inconvenient” and “difficult for quite a lot of residents”, Cllr Pritchard added.
Committee members Nigel Dix, Colin Mann and Shane Williams all said they worried that limiting access to the council’s tips could lead to more fly-tipping.
Cllr Williams also questioned why the booking system idea had been revived.
“There was quite a substantial view that most members here were against a booking system,” he said. “A majority of residents were against a booking system – even the cabinet was against it.
“We seem to want to put obstacles in the way of people recycling. How many times do we have to say that it’s not the model we want in Caerphilly?”
Others in the council chamber supported trialling a booking system.
Committee member Roy Saralis reminded colleagues the Welsh Government could fine the council £2m for missing new targets to recycle 70% of its waste.
He told the committee it would be “short sighted” and a “silly error” to reject the booking system plan.
Emma Hallett, from the Welsh Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), said a booking system would help with “more management of demand” at tips and free up staff to help residents properly sort their waste.
It could also stamp out cross-border use of Caerphilly’s tips and the dumping of trade waste, she added.
Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for waste, said the council had to “scrap” to get to the new 70% recycling target and “has got to move with the times”.
Committee member Amanda McConnell agreed, and told colleagues the booking system was “just a trial”.
But Gary Enright questioned whether it would be limited to a trial policy, given the council was willing to spend an “extensive” £115,000 on it.
Following the meeting, Cllr Etheridge told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that councillors had voted for “common sense”.
Residents will be able to have their say on the new waste strategy proposals when a public consultation opens in February.
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