Last bid to save recycling centre

A LAST-DITCH attempt to save the household recycling centre at Buckden and one million wasted car miles a year will be made next week. More than 4,600 people have signed a petition to save the facility, which is due to close to the public in April at th

A LAST-DITCH attempt to save the household recycling centre at Buckden and 'one million wasted car miles a year' will be made next week.

More than 4,600 people have signed a petition to save the facility, which is due to close to the public in April at the end of Cambridgeshire County Council's contract with site operator WRG.

Brampton Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Downes, who has been campaigning to save the facility since the county decided last year to save money on it, has tabled a motion at next Tuesday's budget-setting meeting.

He wants the council to put the closure on hold while it investigates keeping it open until the new recycling centre opens in St Neots next year and the possibility of weekend-only public opening at Buckden. There are plans for it to accept trade waste on weekdays.


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Cllr Downes, a former head teacher at Hinchingbrooke School, in Huntingdon, has estimated that the extra distances the centre's 100,000 visitors a year will have to drive to alternative sites at St Neots, Alconbury or Bluntisham will involve one million miles at a cost of £400,000 to motorists and generate 334 tonnes of carbon dioxide - just short of the total of 392 tonnes emitted by Huntingdonshire homes each year.

By contrast, he told The Hunts Post, the council will save a maximum of £300,000 and possibly as little as £200,000 a year.

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"I have been trying to get the county council to change its mind, the district council involved and the local strategic partnership to commit some of the £1.6million reward money it has to spend in the community. Until now, nobody has been willing to listen.

"It's in HDC's interest, because closure could increase fly-tipping, which HDC is responsible for. And all these bodies have climate change among their professed priorities. This is my last throw."

His chances of success will depend on the votes of local Conservative members, whose constituents will no longer be able to use Buckden tip. "This is not just an issue for Buckden and Brampton. It's Huntingdon's facility, too," Cllr Downes added.

His proposal to charge visitors £1 or £2 per visit to fund its retention, which he said was widely supported by users of the centre, has been ditched because WRG was unwilling to pay the set-up costs.

Cllr Downes said yesterday (Tuesday) that he had discovered that the county council had invested around £500,000 in the tip since the contract started 10 years ago.

"I found out today that it's something between £320,000 and £730,000. They just don't know. But let's say it's half-a-million pounds of taxpayers' money going into a facility that's no longer going to be used.

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