A MONEY-saving decision to reduce the opening times of recycling centres has come under fire.
From the beginning of this month, recycling centres in Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling, Segensworth, Gosport, Bishop’s Waltham and Petersfield open an hour later in the morning and close an hour earlier.
But at Havant recycling centre, in Harts Farm Way, it is leading to traffic problems.
Michael Bett, 59, called The News as he was left sitting in a long queue towards the A27 as people waited to get in at 9am.
Havant’s new £1m recycling centre opened at the end of 2013 – replacing an out-of-date site next door where drivers frequently had to queue up to get in.
Mr Bett, of Elder Road, Denvilles, said: ‘It’s always been open at 8am. It opened early so people could dump the stuff before work.’
Mr Bett applauded the improvements at the Havant site, which has more capacity and parking spaces.
But he said: ‘It all seems to have been negated by the fact they are not open until 9am.
‘Before 9am they are already queueing along the main road. I was not prepared to join that queue. I could not get rid of my stuff.
‘I think it’s putting lives at risk because cars are queueing on a notoriously busy road.’
The summer opening hours are 9am to 6pm every day. Reducing the hours has saved £150,000.
Ray Cobbett, from Havant Friends of the Earth, said: ‘Hours should be largely designed to meet most people’s needs – certainly the needs of working people.
‘The danger of having “one size fits all” is that people get disinclined to recycle and marginal people of dubious character dump it elsewhere adding to the very critical fly-tipping problem.’
Councillor Sean Woodward, who is in charge of environment, said: ‘Hampshire County Council has used a number of channels to notify residents about the change in opening hours at our Household Waste Recycling Centres including signs and leaflets at the sites, the press and social media but appreciate the change will take time to adjust to.
‘In the meantime we would advise customers not to queue outside any of our sites and return when the site is open. If there is a need to queue we would remind people that they need to do so safely and responsibly.’ He said the consultation in January was based on the views of 6,000 people.
He added: ‘The responses showed that residents would rather see sites opening an hour later rather than close much earlier in the evenings during the summer.’