It’s time for Cheltenham Borough Council to set the record straight about their recycling plans. Are they planning to close Swindon Road recycling centre to general household waste and gardening waste or not?
Last June, when the Lib Dem Council slipped out these proposals there was massive opposition. You can understand why. It’s obvious that downgrading this vital facility risks more fly-tipping and the illegal burning of green waste. It would drive up costs for local people forced to travel further afield to a recycling bank, belching out fumes and causing congestion on busy roads leading to Stoke Orchard and beyond.
And the burning of wet wood, particularly in sheltered back gardens in Cheltenham, would lead to more pollutants and small particles being emitted into the air.
Many residents have also questioned the financial logic behind these proposals. The Council's own report stated that their proposed changes to the recycling centre and the removal of recycling banks would save just £33,000 a year. To point that in context, the astroturf at Boots Corner cost around £20,000 just to install. There are no figures on the weekly costs to the taxpayer of keeping it clean. The trial road closure itself cost taxpayers the thick end of £2m.
But although it appeared to the public that the Council had shelved their plans, investigative journalism by GlosLive showed that they’ve simply put the decision back until after the May council elections.
Well, now is the time to come clean, and rule it out. 72% of people who responded to the questionnaire said they used the site to dispose of general rubbish. And 40% of respondents used the depot to dispose of garden waste at least once a month.
Removing this facility would be penny wise and pound foolish.