LETTER: Lancashire County Council shortsighted over waste disposal

As I sat reading the article about the possible closure of Colne Household Waste Recycling Centre and the letter entitled “Wake up to the cuts” (Leader Times, August 26th), I was so dismayed I felt I had to write to express my disgust at the proposal.

I feel there are a number of points I must bring to your attention. Firstly, Lancashire County Council claims on its website “the decision to close four of the county’s 19 HWRCs was taken in February as part of the council’s pledge to reduce costs”. These are in addition to the four closures already announced in 2010.

It also admits in its review document more households will be affected by closing the Colne site as opposed to the under-utilised Barnoldswick facility but it says the better facilities at Burnley will compensate us. Notwithstanding, it claims its primary reason for suggesting the closure centre around the availability of the site after 2013, due to the site being wholly owned by Sita, along with the increased costs of a site owned by a third party contractor.

However, what it has failed to tell the people of Pendle is that the site used to be owned by LCC until it decided to hand it over as part of the outsourcing of waste services a number of years ago. While I am not questioning the fact that the costs will undoubtedly be higher as a result of paying a private contractor, I believe LCC only has itself to blame for the short-sighted decision it undertook a number of years ago.

It has also renewed Sita’s contract to run all of its HWRCs. Moreover, in an attempt to reduce its costs, LCC is in turn increasing the burden on household budgets via increased petrol costs by forcing people to travel further to dispose of their waste, not to mention the increased traffic and damage to the environment by way of increased carbon emissions. In addition, what it has failed to understand and evaluate in its report is the increased clean-up costs that will be associated with the inevitable increase in fly-tipping, not to mention the visual impact within the borough.

LCC says the final decision will only be made after consultation and after it has carried out a preliminary equality analysis. I would like see the results of such analysis that conclude it is fair and equitable that East Lancashire loses three sites while the west of Lancashire only loses one.

I do not doubt we are all facing tough economic times and LCC is no different to the rest of us - or is it? If LCC is so short of money, perhaps Geoff Driver (council leader) or any other of the 50 Conservative councillors that control LCC would like to explain the rationale behind the £9m. cost of introducing a blanket 20 m.p.h. speed limit across areas of Pendle and other parts of Lancashire, which by its own admission is unenforceable.

MARK PORTER

Hollin Fold, Blacko