The prospect of closing at least one of the county’s 15 community recycling centres is also on the cards as Surrey County Council unveils proposals to save £1.8 million.
The Conservative administration is being urged to scrap the controversial plans amid fears they will drive more people to illegally fly-tip their rubbish.
The authority held a countywide consultation between July and September, and will not make its final decision until next month. But a report has now revealed all centres – including those in Randalls Road in Leatherhead, and Ranmore Road, Dorking – could close for one day each week, open one hour later each day and close 15 minutes earlier.
Proposed charges for materials dumped by residents but classed as non-household goods have also been confirmed. At least one centre closure appears possible. The report, presented to a meeting at County Hall yesterday (Wednesday), stated: “Savings of up to, on average, £200,000 might be achieved through full closures of a smaller single-level site. Officers and SITA [which manages the sites] believe one closure would be possible without detriment to the network. More than one closure would affect service provision.”
The Liberal Democrat opposition has called for the proposals to be abandoned and almost 500 people have put their names to an online petition calling on the administration to drop them.
Caterham Lib Dem county councillor John Orrick believes the cuts are certain to increase fly-tipping. “Fly-tipping is already a big problem in Surrey with rubbish being dumped on land and roads,” he said.
“Not only is it a blight on Surrey’s beautiful countryside, but it is hugely costly for landowners such as the National Trust, as well as district and borough councils, to clear up the mess. These so-called ‘savings’ would just push the costs onto others.”
Disposing of fly-tipped waste is expected to cost Surrey County Council more than £400,000 this year.
During a debate on the savings plans at a full council meeting last Tuesday, cabinet member for environment and planning Mike Goodman said the council was developing a strategy to deal with the problem.
“I would anticipate our fly-tipping would actually decrease rather than increase,” he said. “I think [fears over it increasing] is scare-mongering. However, I do take it seriously and that is why officers are working on it.”
Proposed new charges are £4 for a car tyre, £15.50 for a domestic gas heating bottle, £3 per 20kg bag of inert material, £4.50 per sheet of plasterboard and £7.50 per sheet of asbestos.