New recycling centre in East Devon will 'meet the demands of the 21st century'

  Posted: 18.11.20 at 15:55 by Daniel Clark - Local Democracy Reporter

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Measures to boost recycling rates, help reduce waste collected, and make life easier for people to recycle have been agreed by Devon County Council.

Six new recycling centres will replace those now considered ‘not fit-for-purpose’ across the county, making them a lot easier, safer and more convenient for the public.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet recently endorsed a strategy which set out a vision for the modernisation of the current household waste and recycling centres to meet the demands of the 21st century.

The proposals will see six new sites replace the current ‘not fit for purpose’ centres to ensure that the Household Waste Recycling Centre service is well placed to meet the growing needs placed upon it.

Honiton, Newton Abbot, Barnstaple, Tiverton, Totnes and Kingsbridge, and Tavistock are identified in the report as areas where new centres are needed.

Honiton – provision of new site

The existing facility at Sutton Barton, just outside Wilmington, near Honiton, currently serves most East Devon residents. It was described as small, constrained and was said to suffer significant queuing problems albeit off the public highway.

There are health and safety concerns with vulnerable people accessing skips via steps, and the site is very remote from the main population centre that it serves.

A new facility in the Honiton area is therefore proposed.

Meg Booth, Chief Officer for Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste, in her report to Wednesday’s meeting, said: “There are still several older Household Waste Recycling Centre sites across Devon that are no longer fit for purpose and not suited to modern demands, leading to health and safety concerns and increasingly higher levels of customer dissatisfaction.

“The main factors include sites having to temporarily close to allow the accumulated waste to be safely loaded and transported off site, vehicles regularly queuing, particularly in a dangerous manner on the Public Highway, to access sites either during peak times or when a container is being replaced, restricted layouts particularly at some smaller sites, which makes recycling inconvenient and pedestrian conflict with vehicles leading to health and safety concerns.

“If the status quo was maintained, the Household Waste Recycling Centre service would not be improved, and the public would have to keep using several old facilities that are no longer fit for purpose and suffer significant issues including health and safety. This may eventually result in some facilities having to be closed.”

Her report added that the costs of such a programme of Household Waste Recycling Centres improvements/replacements were significant, and clearly these schemes could only be delivered over an extended timescale of perhaps up to 10 to 15 years and only when funding is available including seeking external sources of funding.

The sites at Holsworthy, Bideford, Torrington, Exeter, Ivybridge, Ilfracombe, Exmouth, South Molton, Okehampton, Crediton, and Sidmouth are considered adequate for the next 15 years.

Reducing waste and increasing recycling

A separate plan that describes how the Devon authorities and Torbay will manage household waste and litter for the next 10 years is also set to go out to public consultation.

The Resource and Waste Management Strategy for Devon and Torbay sets key target across the county, which include the following:

- Achieve a 20 per cent reduction in food waste by 2025
- Recycle at least 60 per cent of household waste by 2025 and 65 per cent by 2035
- All collection authorities to provide a weekly separate collection of food waste by 2022
- Reduce, reuse and recycle more textiles, plastics, metals/waste electronic and electrical equipment, food and paper/card
- Increase the use of carbon friendly fuelled vehicles for transporting waste

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