A new report puts forward proposals to help Lancashire County Council balance its budget by reducing the availability of Household Waste Recycling Centres when they’re less busy.
The outcome of a review of the service due to be presented to the Internal Scrutiny Committee recommends reducing the operation of 7 out of the county’s 15 sites from 7 to 5 days a week, although all would remain open at weekends.
It also recommends changing opening hours at all sites from 9am to 5pm, reflecting surveys showing that visitor numbers are relatively low from 8am to 9am, and after 5pm.
A small reduction in staff numbers is also proposed at 4 HWRCs to achieve consistency in staffing across the sites, ensuring that staffing levels are linked to the number of vehicles using the sites.
The proposals are being presented for consideration by the Internal Scrutiny Committee which is being asked to provide feedback to the council’s deputy leader, who is responsible for waste management. If accepted the plans to save £734,000 could form part of the council’s budget proposals for 2019/20.
All HWRCs are currently open 7 days a week. Of the 7 sites being proposed to close on 2 weekdays, 6 are the county’s quietest sites which receive less than 5,000 tonnes of waste a year, at Longridge, Barnoldswick, Clitheroe, Burscough, Carnforth, and Haslingden. It is also proposed to move the Skelmersdale site to 5 day opening as there are 2 sites in West Lancashire, and days of opening can be staggered so that either Burscough or Skelmersdale are always open.
Steve Scott, head of waste management, said: “Lancashire County Council faces significant financial challenges and all service areas have been asked to carry out reviews and present options for savings to be made.
“The proposals being presented for consideration by the Internal Scrutiny Committee aim to make a significant saving by improving efficiency in the way our Household Waste Recycling Centres operate.
“Lancashire’s HWRCs provide an extensive service in comparison with other councils, so there is scope to make savings by aligning opening days and hours more closely with the way people use them, ensuring they are open at the busiest times, but closing them when there is less demand.”
The review had also considered limiting the types of waste accepted, introducing further charges for some wastes, and limiting use of HWRCs to Lancashire residents only, however no proposals are currently being taken forward on these issues.