FEARS of increases in fly-tipping and congestion were raised at a meeting over the future of household waste recycling centres.
Hampshire County Council will hold a consultation later this year looking at the opening hours of the centres.
If there are closures of some sites, we will get more traffic on the roads and longer journey times.Cllr Rupert Kyrle
It comes as the council looks to save £1.2m.
But at an economy, transport and environment select committee meeting, councillors had concerns about the changes, which could also see some centres closed.
As previously reported in The News, changes to centres’ opening hours were also made last year.
From last April, centres in Gosport, Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling Island and Bishop’s Waltham opened an hour later in the morning and closed an hour earlier.
Liberal Democrat councillor Rupert Kyrle said: ‘This is totally the wrong road for the council to take.
‘The household waste recycling centres are a cherished service.
‘We should look at different ways to expand the service rather than cutting hours and closing sites.
‘If there are closures of some sites, we will get more traffic on the roads and longer journey times.
‘People will make these choices and if they don’t want to be travelling further, they might choose to fly tip.’
The consultation will list a number of changes that could be brought in to save money and will ask people to rank the options from most to least-favoured.
Potential actions include a reduction in opening hours through shortened days or full-day closures and the full closure of some sites.
No decisions have been made as to what sites could close.
But how busy they are and how close they are to other household waste recycling centres would be taken into consideration.
The consultation papers will also list how much the option would save the council so respondents can make an informed decision.
After the select committee meeting, Cllr Sean Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment, approved the consultation at a separate meeting.
He said: ‘Ongoing reductions in government funding mean we must continually look very carefully at where we focus our resources to make sure we are using the funding we have wisely.
‘However, the scale of funding reductions for councils, particularly in the south of England, announced by the government in December was much more severe than we had expected, and we are now reviewing our savings plans.
‘We have a large number of HWRCs in Hampshire compared with other areas.
‘They are open seven days a week, only closing on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and it is clear we are no longer in a financial position to be able to provide this level of service.
‘We have been working on a number of scenarios on which to base a public consultation, asking residents how they think savings could best be made.
‘We will need to keep all our options open.’
, including the possibility of charging for non-domestic waste, reducing opening hours and the pattern of sites across the county.
‘We want to hear what the priorities are for Hampshire’s residents before any decisions are made, and we will be analysing details of how, when and which sites are used.’
Dates for the consultation will be confirmed shortly. All responses will be analysed and presented to Cllr Woodward to make a decision later in the year.