Review into Nottinghamshire’s 12 recycling centres still ongoing more than one year on

A recycling centre.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

The findings of a review into whether Nottinghamshire’s network of 12 recycling centres are “fit for the future” have been delayed.

Nottinghamshire County Council is conducting the assessment on the waste centres.

It follows council concerns some sites may be experiencing “operational difficulties” because they are approaching full capacity.

The review was first commissioned in January 2022, and could also outline plans for a new recycling centre in the Rushcliffe borough.

Early suggestions, which go as far back as 2017, indicate this could be based in Cotgrave.

However, the Conservative-run authority’s place select committee has heard the outcome of the review will not be fed back until at least July 2023.

Papers published for the same committee in January 2023 said “detailed operational and strategic recommendations” had been drawn up by a consultant.

These, the papers said, were due to be reported back in a cabinet briefing two months ago.

But a committee meeting on Wednesday (March 15) heard the review is “complex” with its results due to be published “as soon as possible”.

Following a debate between Independent Alliance members and ruling Tories, councillors decided an update must be provided at the next meeting in July.

This would be 18 months after the review was approved by the now-disbanded transport and environment committee and six months later than the initially-promised January 2023 date.

Speaking in the meeting, Councillor Tom Hollis (Ash Ind), the committee’s vice-chair, moved calls for the review to be published by the end of March.

However, his suggestions were voted down by the Conservatives with Labour abstaining from the vote.

Cllr Hollis said: “We want a timescale to hold the administration to account on the review.

“In January, we were promised the recommendations and we still don’t have them.

“We want to actually set a date for when we can expect an outcome for this recycling centre review, which is already eight weeks overdue.”

But responding to his concerns, Cllr Neil Clarke (Con), cabinet member for transport and environment, urged for the process not to be rushed.

He said: “All I can say at the moment is that it will be [published] as soon as possible because there’s a lot involved.

“We want to make sure we get it right when we come out with the recommendations.”

He added: “It’s better that it’s right, not rushed, and an arbitrary deadline is going to be impossible.

“It’s impossible to give an exact date. If we rush something just to agree to a date and then we get something wrong, it creates more confusion and difficulties.”

Cllr Jonathan Wheeler (Con), who represents West Bridgford South, moved for the review to be discussed as a “standalone item” in July.

His calls, which were approved, would allow the issue to be discussed “properly”, he said.

The review follows concerns about operational issues at some of the 12 sites, with a 2022 report revealing some hubs were “operating at capacity”.

It revealed many were experiencing problems with their location, leading to complaints from neighbouring homes during the pandemic.

Extensive queues were seen at some sites due to social distancing measures.

It led to the West Bridgford centre temporarily enforcing a booking system to manage traffic and congestion.

The authority previously said the review “absolutely isn’t about reducing provision”.

It is assessing whether facilities are “appropriately located” and have enough capacity to “offer residents a high-quality service”.

The council expects the review to recommend the “optimum number and locations” for future sites.

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