A decision on the future of Angus’s recycling network has been deferred to allow councillors to find out the full range of options available.
At a meeting of the local authority’s communities committee today (Tuesday) members agreed a report by Stewart Ball, head of regulatory and protective services, but stopped short of agreeing to the controversial proposed shake-up of the county’s recycling centres.
It was suggested the phased closure of the Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar, Kirriemuir and Monifieth facilities with the retention of Arbroath and Montrose, with a new centre to be developed in the Forfar/ Kirriemuir area.
In addition to reducing recycling centres from seven to three, the servicing of skips from the facility maintained by Edzell Village Improvement Society (EVIS) will be stopped.
Other money-saving measures included the introduction of an annual £25 fee for garden waste collections; the withdrawal of food waste collection from rural areas and the closure of five unattended public toilets.
These are at The Den in Kirriemuir; Dall’s Lane, Brechin; Norries Road, Westhaven; Arbroath Road, Forfar and Tay Street, Monifieth.
Agreement has been reached with Angus Alive, however, to allow the public to use toilets in any of their facilities such as sports centres and libraries.
The recycling centre changes would result in an estimated continuing saving of £258,000; garden waste changes will save £393,000; the reduction in food waste collections will save £91,000 while the closure of the five unattended toilets and the change of two attended Superloo facilities to unattended would save £74,000.
The proposals sparked protests across the county with the establishment of an online petition and Facebook campaign and there was a small demonstration against the loss of the centres outside Town and County Hall in Forfar prior to the meeting.
Most committee members said that they had received numerous calls and e-mails from concerned constituents and Councillor Donald Morrison, committee convener, proposed deferring the matter until the next cycle of meetings.
He said: “We have the officer’s recommendations but in relation to recommendation one councillors fell they haven’t been fully informed of all the options so I propose deferring until a members’ briefing.”
The proposal was agreed unanimously, which was welcomed by protestors.
Laura-May Kennedy, from Arbroath, who started the Facebook page, said: “I think that coming back with other proposals is a good thing and as some councillors said there are maybe other ways they could do things in terms of part-time hours for the centres and there are other options they could look at.
“It gives some confidence that we’ve been listened to, made people feel they’ve a voice and that they can go to the council and voice their opinion, which is very important.”
After the meeting a council spokeswoman said that, in the current financial climate, the council has to make difficult decisions but is committed to still providing services for Angus residents.
She continued: “It was agreed to introduce a charge of £1 per week per bin during the growing season for garden waste - £25 per annum - as opposed to simply stopping the service. The new service will be an opt-in service and is estimated to save taxpayers £378,000 annually. Members also agreed to close five unmanned toilet facilities at a saving of £60,000.
“There will also be changes to the non-statutory food waste collection service as members agreed that the food waste collection is no longer economically sustainable for non-statutory areas and will only be provided to households in towns and larger villages.
“Members also heard that the proposed closure of five recycling centres at an estimated saving of £258,000 was deferred while further options are explored. A report will be brought to committee at a future date where the options for making the saving will be discussed and the savings made.”