OBJECTION: Claire Malcolmson and Clayton Wellman present the petition to county councillor Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning
ALMOST 1,600 residents have signed a petition urging Surrey County Council to reconsider cuts to opening hours at recycling centres and charges for waste.
Following a public consultation, all tips will be open fewer hours – from 8am to 4pm on weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends. Five centres in the county will also be closed on one or two days a week and a charging system will be introduced from April 1.
The Ranmore Road centre in Dorking will be closed on Tuesdays and will no longer accept non-household waste such as plasterboard, refillable gas bottles, tyres and rubble.
Suggested alternatives are the sites in Randalls Road, Leatherhead or the one at Earlswood. However from the summer there will be a charge for non-household waste and a free allowance of only one 25kg bag of rubble per visitor per day.
Two Liberal Democrat councillors at Mole Valley District Council launched a petition in protest, which was handed to the county council on Tuesday.
Councillor Claire Malcomson said: “Undoubtedly this will lead to lots of problems, in particular it will directly correlate into a rise in the scourge of fly-tipping in our beautiful countryside.
“Many people won’t pay, many people won’t drive to another town, and this is at a time when we should be encouraging recycling. We should be making it as easy as possible for everyone to recycle and dispose of waste appropriately. We should be taking measures to protect the environment, not jeopardise it.”
Councillor Clayton Wellman said: “Although the county council will make savings from the measures to be taken at [community recycling centres] , Mole Valley council, local landowners and the National Trust will all have to pay the costs of combating the extra fly-tipping that will arise which may well cost more than the savings made by the county.
“All in all the measures are shortsighted and inefficient. Along with our fellow Liberal Democrat councillors, we are doing our best to resist them.”
From April 1, residents may also be asked to provide identification at tip gates to ensure only Surrey residents use the tip.