Pay-as-you-go scheme could save Hampshire tips from closure

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FRONT-LINE services are set to be cut by £140m but household waste recycling centres could be saved under a new pay-as-you-go scheme.

Hampshire County Council’s cabinet signed off on the radical cuts, which will shave millions from children’s, adult social care and transport services at a meeting yesterday.

We are proposing a pilot scheme as policy changes can take a long time and Hampshire can lead the way in terms of being a pilot

Councillor Rob Humby

The proposals faced stern criticism from veteran councillor Alan Dowden who urged the authority’s leader, Councillor Roy Perry to propose a motion calling on central government to deliver more funding.

Cllr Perry insisted to the cabinet that the council was lobbying the government and put forward a last-minute amendment to the proposals.

The amendment was that the council officers would seek any viable measures to prevent HWRCs from closing and to prevent cuts to school crossing patrols and community transport.

Up to 13 of the current 26 HWRCs are earmarked for closure and officers are currently pushing for Hampshire to be used as a pilot scheme in which users would pay £1 to access the tip.

Councillor Rob Humby, cabinet member for environment, said: ‘We have been lobbying central government on this so I very much welcome the amendment.

‘We are proposing a pilot scheme as policy changes can take a long time and Hampshire can lead the way in terms of being a pilot.’

Under current government legislation, councils cannot charge residents to use tips.

The scheme could be implemented at the Port Solent HWRC, which is managed by Portsmouth City Council.

James Hill, director of property and housing, said: ‘We are aware that the county council is looking at a number of options for the management of its household waste and recycling centres, including the possibility of charging a nominal fee.

‘We will work with our colleagues at Hampshire and will make a decision on 
any scheme it wants to introduce.’

In his deputation to the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Mr Dowden said: ‘A strong leader would place a motion before full council proposing government funding should be increased in order to prevent such huge cuts to services.’

To which Cllr Perry replied that the cabinet all have their concerns on the proposals.

The Conservative leader added on the financial situation: ‘We will be making sure that central government understands the implications of the decisions we are making.’

Up to 648 full-time jobs are at risk due to the cuts.

A full decision on the proposals will be made during a full council meeting next month.