Welwyn Hatfield slams county council's £1.5 million cut to recycling grant

PUBLISHED: 06:58 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 30 September 2019

The household waste recycling centre at Cole Green on the A414. Picture: Google Streetview

The household waste recycling centre at Cole Green on the A414. Picture: Google Streetview

Google Streetview

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, among other districts and boroughs, is decrying the county's £1.5 million recycling scheme cut.

Herts county council decided to reduce the rewards it gives to borough and district councils for increasing their kerbside recycling on Monday (September 23).

The county council has operated the reward scheme since 2008 - giving more than £33 million back to the 10 authorities over 12 years.

But it agreed the amount available would be cut by £500,000 a year for the next three years.

A written response from WHBC's corporate director Ka Ng - on behalf of all the district and borough councils - said the planned reduction came as the districts were suffering "significant budget pressures" from falling demand for recycled materials.

She pointed to investments by the districts that would reduce the waste going to landfill and save the county council millions of pounds in disposal costs, and she warned that this would not help to reduce the environmental impact across the county.

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Last year £4.15 million was passed to districts and boroughs - with £330,141 for Hertsmere and £299,437 for Welwyn Hatfield. The biggest payment of £836,469 was made to St Albans; the smallest of £236,755 went to Stevenage.

The district and borough councils say they are already being hit financially by a fall in demand for recyclable materials - and they have warned the move will damage the relationship with the county council.

But the county council say the move reflects the level of additional savings it needs to make - particularly to support adult care and children's services - and points to the £19.9 million savings that still have to be found for next year (2020/21).

Over the past three years the county council has kept back £1 million from the scheme - at a rate of £333,000 a year.

During the Monday meeting, executive member for community safety and waste management and Herts county councillor Terry Hone said they needed to look at what they could contribute towards the funding required "to maintain the high level of care currently adults and children in our community".

And Cllr Hone suggested that not every council had always used the funds from the scheme, as intended, to increase their recycling rates.

Last year the cost of waste disposal to the county council was £44.1 million. By 2022/23 it is expected to increase by a further £8 million.

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