Surrey County Council has launched a consultation on ways to reduce the cost to local taxpayers of running Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) as it strives to continue providing a high-quality service in the face of growing financial pressures.
The council has already made savings at CRCs by recycling more of the waste that’s dropped off at them and introducing a permit scheme to stop businesses using them for free.
Now residents are being asked for their views on options for making further savings of up to £1.8million while still maintaining a network of centres and a comprehensive service across the county.
The move comes as demand for services such as adult social care is rising and funding from the government is falling.
New care responsibilities will cost tens of millions of pounds without increased funding. And the council also needs to create 13,000 extra school places in the next five years but faces a funding shortfall of more than £30million in each of the next two years alone.
Options for the recycling centres include introducing charges for dropping off non-household waste such as rubble, plasterboard and tyres, which costs Surrey taxpayers £1.3million-a-year to dispose of. But any charges would simply cover that cost.
Other ideas include closing centres at their quietest times, such as between eight and nine o’clock in the morning and looking at whether all centres are really providing value to residents.
Mike Goodman, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: ‘We face tough decisions because of the pressures our finances are under but whatever we do we will make sure there is a comprehensive network of centres covering the whole county. And people will still be able to take everyday household and garden waste to our centres free of charge.
‘I would urge residents to complete the survey to give their views. We will carefully consider the feedback we get so we can make the right decisions.’
The consultation, which runs until 30 September, can be found here.