Over the border: Concerns over non-residents bans at Herts recycling centres
Politics / Wed 22nd Mar 2023 at 07:28am
A PARISH leader has said county councils are playing “tit for tat” over non-resident bans at tips in Hertfordshire reports the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme
Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet has agreed to bar people who live outside of the county from local authority recycling centres.
This means Essex residents will be unable to use the Bishop’s Stortford recycling centre, which lies immediately south of the A120 Essex border.
Cambridgeshire residents will need to find an alternative to the centre at Royston, which is less than 300 metres from the A505 county boundary.
The decision, which cabinet members agreed at a meeting on Monday, March 20, is in line with policies in neighbouring authorities such as Enfield, Harrow and Essex.
Herts decision-makers agreed they would be open to cost-neutral “potential reciprocal arrangements” with other councils.
Maureen Caton is chair of Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council in Essex, which lies to the north of Bishop’s Stortford.
She said residents will have to travel up to half an hour further away to get rid of their rubbish in Saffron Walden or Harlow – rather than “just around the corner” in Hertfordshire.
Cllr Caton said: “This decision means people in places like Stansted will mean we have to travel much further to recycle their waste at a time when we are all trying to use the car less.
“I think it is a bit of tit for tat.
“County councils have to get around the table because people are very concerned they will have to travel more, rather than use their local facilities.
“I can see why a lot of people are upset about this”.
Councillor Susan van de Ven (LD) represents Meldreth and Bassingbourn on Cambridgeshire County Council, north of Royston.
She said: “The decision to restrict access to its Royston Recycling Centre is hugely disappointing.
“Given the climate change emergency that Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire county councils have each declared, surely making recycling and waste disposal safe and accessible for all should be a clear priority.
“Making people drive much further would simply generate more carbon.
“The reality along this county border is that public services provided by different councils are shared and enjoyed by all.
“Starting to separate out who is entitled to use which waste and recycling centre and where could open the floodgates to re-assessing other public services enjoyed by all, like subsidised bus services connecting Royston to Cambridge and the villages, which are Cambridgeshire-funded, or library services and leisure facilities in both counties.”
Cllr Van de Ven said she is “glad” to hear Hertfordshire County Council is considering talks with its neighbours.
She urged the authority to consider widening access to the SG8 postcode area – which spans Nuthampstead, Thriplow, Guilden Morden and the Wimpole Estate.
Councillor Eric Buckmaster (Con, Sawbridgeworth) is portfolio holder for the environment at Hertfordshire County Council.
A report into his decision set out the previous council contractor Amey, which was in place between 2014 and 2020, was losing £1.4million each year in the “latter years” of the contract.
Taking into account the number of non-residents coming into Hertfordshire, and the number of Hertfordshire residents using centres outside the county boundary, the county council is importing waste to the tune of approximately 20 per cent net.
More non-residents are thought to be using the Royston and Bishop’s Stortford recycling centres than residents.
Cllr Buckmaster said: “A residents-only policy is conservatively estimated to produce an annual saving approaching £450,000.
“The proposed approach would be to introduce a communications plan and advance warning signage.
“Temporary additional staff at the sites of highest non-resident usage will be asking for proof of address, and will be able to use a simple postcode council checker.
“Staff will be trained to be sensitive and to avoid conflict.
“In these locations there is also the potential to improve the customer experience through the benefit of reduced queuing.”
Cllr Buckmaster added neighbouring authorities would receive notification of the cabinet’s decision in Hertfordshire.
This will just encourage fly tipping
This is clearly plain stupid and overall will vastly increase the cost to the general public purse. Part of the parochial short sighted system that's making it more difficult to access a public service already for paid for from taxes, making it more difficult to dispose of waste, encourages fly tipping and puts greater strains on the environment and business. Shows the uk approach to recycling and waste is fundamentally flawed.
Typical. Blame the outsider. Little Engländers at work. Gotta go, I need to cut off my nose to spite my face.
Typical petty bourgeois bureaucrats getting their rocks off with some petty regulations.
Surely it's a case of swings and roundabouts if Essex residents nearest a Herts centre use that - and Herts residents nearest an Essex centre use that. It can't be better to further pollute some of the most polluted areas in the country by driving long distances to deposit rubbish. Didn't I see something only recently from Herts C.C, asking us to avoid unnecessary car journeys around here?