A CONTROVERSIAL booking system for Caerphilly Council’s tips has been axed from a public consultation on new ways to boost recycling rates.
Committee members agreed earlier this week the booking system trial should be removed from the new waste strategy, amid fears it could lead to more fly-tipping.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday January 17, there was some disappointment over the scrutiny committee’s decision, given looming fines of £2 million for councils which miss Welsh Government recycling targets.
Council leader Sean Morgan hinted a special working group for waste management could still “revisit” the booking system in future, however.
The draft waste strategy will be opened for public consultation in February.
It sets out various ways Caerphilly Council hopes it can increase its recycling rates, which are among the lowest in Wales and could land the local authority in trouble with ministers.
Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for waste, told the meeting the Welsh Government had agreed to quash a £2m penalty last year provided the council launched a “root and branch review” of its waste policies and made improvements.
Councils are required by law to recycle 70% of their municipal waste from April.
Three- or four-weekly bin collections, the closure of two tips, and giving residents new containers for sorting their recycling are all measures included in the draft waste strategy.
Yet it is another proposed measure – a trial of a booking system at council tips – which has proved the most controversial to date.
A scrutiny committee meeting on Monday January 15 heard fears of more fly-tipping, as well as disbelief the proposal had been revived so soon after it was rejected by the council’s cabinet, following a similar public consultation exercise in 2021.
Despite those concerns, Cllr Morgan told the cabinet meeting he was “quite surprised” committee members had voted to axe the proposal from the new public consultation.
Hayley Jones, the council’s waste strategy manager, told the cabinet there was “no legal obligation” to provide a booking system in Caerphilly, but said such a policy could improve staff health and safety, give the council more information on waste management, and lead to more engagement with residents.
Cllr Morgan said he would “suppose” the special working group for waste management “would revisit this [policy] in the future”.