Plans to close Hayling Island and Bishops Waltham tips will lead to more fly tipping - claim

Changes are afoot at Hampshire's recycling centresChanges are afoot at Hampshire's recycling centres
Changes are afoot at Hampshire's recycling centres
The plan to close tips in Hampshire will increase the number of unlicensed rubbish removal companies, fly-tipping and rat infestations, a Hampshire parliamentary candidate has warned.

The proposal is part of Hampshire County Council’s savings program to fill the £132 million budget gap for 2025/26, which is currently under consultation until March 31, almost 12 tips across Hampshire could close in a strategy to save £1.6 million per year.

The Conservative administration’s proposed plan will also see opening times and the types of waste accepted change at the household waste recycling centres (HWRC) and close the sites in Bishops Waltham, Hayling Island, Fair Oak, Hartley Wintney and Alresford as the smallest sites, which it said are the poorest performing and most expensive to run. The closure of these five would save around £500,000 per year. On top of that, due to operational challenges and investment requirements, the Aldershot, Bordon, Casbrook, Hedge End, Marchwood, Petersfield and Somerley sites could also be shut.

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Khalil Yousuf, who has been selected as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for the new cross-border Farnham and Bordon constituency, said residents will be forced to travel further to recycle and dispose of their rubbish, and claimed that fly-tipping, which is already a problem across the county, will increase the number of unlicensed waste carriers and rat problems.

He said: “When the council tips shut down, fly-tipping will increase. There is already a huge problem of unlicensed waste carriers fly-tipping across the constituency, which will also increase. That will also increase the rat problem; both are linked together. There’s a very good reason why waste sites are a statutory public service: they have to be provided by law, and they have to be provided without charge. The rules about how much you provide and how long they’re to remain open are very flexible, but fundamentally, there is a statutory duty to provide them, and the reason is that there’s a public health benefit in doing so.”

Mr Yousuf recognised the county council’s financial position; however, the cuts “will not be going to resolve the huge hole in the finances that the council has” that comes as a result of “many years of underfunding, which is a tragedy and very harmful for the population.”

When asked what he expects for the upcoming months, he said he wanted a new government in which his party, the Lib Dems, “play a significant role”. Mr Yousuf said: “They [HCC] have until March 31, which is when the consultation closes. They will look at that and do an assessment, and then I hope we have an election and a new government. And then I hope that we, as Liberal Democrats, play a very significant part in trying to reassess how councils are managed and properly funded.”