Booking system for Portsmouth's Port Solent tip could be scrapped

THE online booking system for the tip brought in at the start of the pandemic could be scrapped by Portsmouth City Council after opposition councillors passed a motion saying it was no longer needed.
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Despite only being extended 'indefinitely' less than 18 months ago by the Lib Dem administration, Conservative, Labour and Portsmouth Independents councillors said a new approach now needed to be considered.

'The time has come to recognise that the situation set up for the household waste recycling centre is possibly more convenient to the council than it is for residents,' the motion's proposer, councillor Matthew Atkins, said. 'It presents a significant barrier to access among some people in the city.'

Queues of cars as Port Solent tip reopens on May 11, 2020 in Portsmouth after the first lockdown  Picture: Mark CoxQueues of cars as Port Solent tip reopens on May 11, 2020 in Portsmouth after the first lockdown  Picture: Mark Cox
Queues of cars as Port Solent tip reopens on May 11, 2020 in Portsmouth after the first lockdown Picture: Mark Cox
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He said the system was inconveniencing people clearing out their home, carrying out DIY projects or who had to replace appliances and may encourage increased fly-tipping.

'I do recognise that there are benefits of the booking system,' he added. 'I'm not saying I think it's a totally terrible thing... but I think that that there must be some kind of sensible compromise or middle ground that could be found here.'

Portsmouth Independents councillor George Madgwick, who represents the Paulsgrove ward which includes the tip at Port Solent, said he supported the suggestion but said people living nearby needed to be consulted for their views before any decision is taken and requested a report be produced by March.

Under the current system, only people who pre-booked slots are able to access the tip. The council said it had reduced traffic and queuing problems and helped lower pollution as a result.

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Councillor Lynne Stagg, the cabinet member for transport, said slots could be booked on the same day and opposed Cllr Atkins’ motion.

Concerns were also raised by the cabinet member for environment, Cllr Kimberly Barrett whose role includes overseeing waste services. She said consultations had shown there was public approval for the current arrangement.

‘It does work very well,’ she said. ‘I think it’s very important to mention...we have a telephone appointment system because we do realise that not everyone can go online to book. It has been really popular and my counterparts across Hampshire have supported it.’

She added that fly-tipping had reduced from pre-pandemic levels.

Despite this, the motion was passed and the council will now be required to carry out a survey of people living in Port Solent for their views about potentially removing the booking system.

A report will be published before the council's meeting in March.