Council gives update on review of household waste recycling centre provision


Cheshire East Council has given an update on work to review the services at its household waste recycling centres and the provision available across the borough.

The council runs seven household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) which provide a variety of services to residents and are all now in need of investment. These are located at Poynton, Bollington, Macclesfield, Knutsford, Middlewich, Crewe and Alsager.

Supported by a working group of council members, work is ongoing to review the provision of HWRCs and ensure that the service remains affordable in the longer term.

The council is set to report financial pressures of £12.8m against its 2023/24 budget. Savings have already been identified to reduce this from £26.6m.

A report giving an update on the HWRC review will be presented to the council's environment and communities committee on 28 September and includes a recommendation to consult on options for the future delivery of HWRC services.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "Work to review the provision of HWRCs in Cheshire East is needed so that we can continue to deliver a service that enables residents to recycle and dispose of their waste responsibly and is also within the limits of what is possible financially over the coming years.

"All our HWRCs are in need of investment to ensure that they are well-equipped and up to modern standards, particularly to improve the general customer experience, the facilities for staff, and the security of the sites. This investment is in addition to significant annual running costs of the sites, which continue to rise.

"We are now proposing to consult on a number of options for how we deliver HWRC services in the future before developing a final recommendation.

"This recommendation will consider the feedback received through the consultation, the affordability of the options presented, and up to date site user data, including visitor numbers for each HWRC, and information about where people are travelling from to the different sites.

"A key aspect of the recommendation will be a focus on delivering a service that promotes waste prevention and reduction so that ultimately, less waste needs to be disposed of at our HWRCs and the impact on the environment is reduced."

Subject to committee's approval, the public consultation will be launched early in 2024.

As part of the planned consultation, the public will be asked for their views on three core options, including:

  • Reducing the number of HWRCs to six and closing the site at Poynton, which sees the smallest percentage of users. A mobile household waste collection service would be introduced instead.
  • Reducing the number of HWRCs to four and keeping the core sites of Crewe, Macclesfield, Alsager, and Knutsford open. Collectively, these sites receive more than 73 per cent of the total users. This possibility includes investing and extending the sites where needed and introducing a mobile household waste collection service.
  • Retain services as they are and invest in the sites.

The report to committee this month also seeks approval to begin a procurement exercise for a new contract for the running of the HWRCs from January 2025, based on the same options due to be consulted on.

A final recommendation for the delivery of HWRC services is expected to be presented back as a report to the environment and communities committee in summer next year.