One size fits all booking system for Essex recycling centres ‘not good approach’

News / Thu 28th Dec 2023 at 10:44am

A ONE-size-fits-all system is ‘not suitable’ for booking time slots at recycling centres Essex County Council has been told in the face of huge disparities between the level of support in different areas.

Around 20 per cent of people in Uttlesford say they are in favour of a booking system. While in Rochford around 90 per cent of people were in favour.

The county council revealed the figures at a policy scrutiny committee meeting on November 12  as it works through more than 22,000 responses to a consultation from a trial period from March to October.

Councillor James Newport said it was clear some areas are more welcoming of the system than others and that might need a more nuanced approach.

He said: “From first glance, I don’t think a one-size-fits-all approach is a good approach. We do need to look at that further to identify what issues those residents are experiencing.”

More than 18,000 people completed the consultation survey with 22,000 comments. A summary report of the consultation feedback will be published alongside a final evaluation as part of any future decision regarding recycling centre bookings. Responses are being independently reviewed.

The consultation feedback will be used alongside other supporting evidence to inform a future decision on whether to keep a booking process for recycling centres in Essex.

The disparity in levels of support to calls for people in Uttlesford to be allowed to continue to use the Saffron Walden recycling centre without having to book.

Councillor Paul Gadd said: “From our point of view where we are reliant on the Saffron Walden one it’s a really good centre. We’re lucky in its location. It’s off a main road and we don’t have any queuing issues and we don’t have any of the congestion issues.

“From our perspective, it was two minutes from my life wasted booking and two minutes of my life wasted queuing up while your booking is being tested. I think everything I’m hearing locally is basically we had a perfectly good system before, that worked.

“I think everyone locally is saying please can we be out of it because it doesn’t make our life any easier and it wastes our time. But I recognise the issues elsewhere.”

Jason Searles, head of waste policy and circular, said that the council will be relying on the 22,000 comments from the consultation to fully understand what is driving the differences.

He added: “There are some sites that require a booking system much more than other sites and we recognise Saffron Walden is probably at that lower end. But although queuing and congestion at Saffron Walden is relatively low and has a relatively small impact on users at that site there is still an operational impact of that sort of congestion at that site.

“Even when we look at our servicing vehicles going into empty containers, if they are held up by 10 or 15 minutes when you start multiplying that up across the service that can result in needing an additional service vehicle, additional drivers, additional cost that comes with that.”

Residents will have to continue to book a slot to visit recycling centres until a decision is made early next year.

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2 Comments for One size fits all booking system for Essex recycling centres ‘not good approach’:

Ian McNaught
2023-12-28 13:30:40

What is the situation for Blue badge holders then?

2023-12-28 15:18:53

It works brilliant at Harlow. I have booked numerous time , always got in that , no matter in week or weekend, and never had to queue.

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