RECYCLING centres across our area could be closed one day a week in a bid to save cash, sparking fears of an increase in fly-tipping.
Rubbish tips at Port Solent in Portsmouth, Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, Segensworth, Gosport and Petersfield may revert to a six-day week operation under plans by Hampshire County Council.
Their summer opening hours are also planned to be reduced as the council looks to save up to £720,000.
But there are fears closing the centres to the public for an entire day could encourage fly-tipping.
Ray Cobbett, co-ordinator for Hampshire Friends of the Earth, said: ‘We would not want any reduction in opening hours.
‘Here we are approaching Green Week with the great message to recycle more.
‘This sends out the wrong message.
‘Opening hours is a convenience that a lot of people like.
‘It’s actually going to be an incentive to fly-tip, which is already a major problem and is costing local authorities.’
On the day the centres are closed, it’s proposed to open them up to small businesses which can pay to dump trade waste such as soil, rubble or plasterboard.
Currently, businesses have to dispose of items to licensed contractors.
The county council, which runs the waste recycling contract alongside Portsmouth and Southampton city councils, is planning to close one or more centres one day a week as part of a trial scheme.
The changes could then be rolled out across all 26 centres in the county.
But it would need the backing from Portsmouth City Council to make changes at Port Solent.
The days each centre would close would depend on their local usage.
Kate Turner, chairwoman of Havant and Bedhampton Community Network, who lives near the Havant facility, said: ‘They need to think it through.
‘Are they going to get trade waste people to actually go there?’
The centres are currently open seven days a week year-round and most open between 8am and 7pm between April and September.
Council leaders say they have not decided on new, reduced opening times as details are being finalised.
Councillor Mel Kendal, who is in charge of environment, said: ‘The need to make efficiency savings and reduce operating costs in the current climate of austerity is without question but we must ensure that the savings are achievable within the context of continuing to provide an excellent service to local communities.’
New restrictions on cards for recycling hubs
HEIGHT restrictions could be introduced for vehicles visiting new recycling centres in Havant and Waterlooville.
The move would help stop trades people illegally dumping commercial waste and could save the council £100,000 a year.
Both towns are set to get new recycling centres under a £2m scheme, with the one in Waterlooville opening later this year at a new location at Old Park Farm.
A 5ft 9in height barrier already operates at Portsmouth’s recycling centre.
Other proposed changes include generating income from selling compostable bags and rubble sacks.
All the recycling centres are run by Hopkins Recycling Ltd under a contract due to last until 2015.
The centres received around 230,000 tons of material in 2010/11 and diverted 72 per cent of waste from landfill.
More than 4.5m people visited the sites last year.