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Booking slots could be set to remain at Aberdeenshire Recycling sites

By David Porter

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The current bookings based system for depositing waste at Aberdeenshire's Household Waste and Recycling sites is set to be retained if councillors agree to the recommendations of a report which will be presented to the infrastructure services committee next week.

Following its introduction, several reviews have taken place after feedback from residents, which has brought about changes to the number of visits, vehicles permitted and some exemptions for community scheme generated waste such as grass cuttings.

HWRC centres will still require booking if plans are approved
HWRC centres will still require booking if plans are approved

In September a public survey was conducted which received just under 4000 replies, the majority coming from residents in Ellon and Inverurie where the sites are amongst some of the most frequently used.

Around half of all respondents were not happy with the booking system, seeking its removal.

From the feedback from the survey and from the service itself, four options were considered during the appraisal process -

1- Do nothing and continue with the current systems

This option is to retain the current systems and make no changes in addition to those that have already been implemented.

2- Continue with the current systems and incorporate additional identified improvements.

This option is to recommend improvements to the current systems which incorporate feedback and observations from service users that relate to the booking system and the visit limit system.

This is the approach that has been recommended for approval by councillors.

3 - Introduce a hybrid system – removing booking at specific sites on specific days

This option is to remove the current booking system at specific less busy sites and on quieter days of the week.

4 Remove current systems - This option is to remove the current booking/limit system and ANPR barriers and allow unlimited access to all vehicles.

In the report it is stated: "Many factors were considered during the options appraisal process.

"The areas for further exploration and implementation if possible, include:

"Booking system recommendations which include clearer instructions on website – simplify and update the language; Autofill of details to avoid duplication; Timeslots available first prior to completion and introducing of shorter notice availability of timeslots.

"Limit system recommendations would see an increase in the number of vehicles per timeslots at busier sites and an increase of the number of trailers per slot from one to two where site allows.

"Engagement/Communications Recommendations

"It is also considered that more communications regarding 24 visits per year – not a two per month is needed."

A separate part of the review process looked at options available to traders in Aberdeenshire to legally dispose of their trade waste as concerns have been raised that traders may struggle to dispose of their waste due to the new systems in place at the HRCs.

This review analysed all of the waste disposal options available (both via the Council and private operators) within a 20 mile radius of every postcode within Aberdeenshire.

It also reviewed the usage of the three waste drop off points that the Council provides as a pay as you go service for traders to dispose of their trade waste.

Feedback from the traders who responded to the survey did not indicate the need for further disposal options.

Concerns which had been raised over fly tipping increasing as a result of this have, the report states not materialised.

It comments: "Although the general level of fly tipping is still too high, in the years before the pandemic, reports averaged about 700 per year.

"This rose in 2020 by 71 per cent to 1195, during this time all recycling centres were closed to the public for a period of two months, to date this year there have been 861 reported.

"Analysis shows there was a spike in reported incidents in March 2021 – this however was before the introduction of the limit system, which has been in place for some time, so the system has not been directly responsible for an increase in fly tipping, levels are reducing and have over the past five months been less than in 2020. "

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