Opening hours could be cut at recycling sites

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RECYCLING centres in Sheffield are to open for just four days a week and unions fear 16 jobs could go under plans to save £390,000 from the cost of running the sites.

The five centres, at Beighton, in the Gleadless Valley, High Green, Longley and Deepcar, currently open seven days a week between 9am and 6pm.

Sheffield Council’s waste management contractor Veolia sub-contracts running of the sites to a second firm.

Waste recycled from the centres has been sold for more than £100,000 a year over the last five years.

But the council wants to cut the cost of its contract with Veolia and has proposed reducing the operating hours of the centres to save £390,000.

GMB trade union regional organiser Peter Davies, who represents staff at the sites, said: “I have serious concerns about the plans for the household waste recycling centres and their impact on jobs and the service provided to the public.

“It takes 42 people to run them at present, and we fear reducing the operating hours could mean up to 16 job losses.

“At the same time, Veolia is re-tendering for a company to run the sites and said they could open to take commercial waste at other times.

“These are publicly-owned sites. Why couldn’t they look at opening for both the public and commercial users at the same time?

“It would allow them to open for more days, and preserve jobs and a public service.”

Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, Coun Leigh Bramall, said: “We are faced with a need to achieve a certain level of savings. I cannot see any alternative to the current proposals to reduce opening days of recycling centres.

We believe a good service could still be provided by opening at times the public use the sites most.”

However, Coun Bramall said: “Nothing is set in stone and we could consider other ideas and see how they would work, depending upon the capacity of the sites concerned.”

Details of what days and hours the household waste recycling centres would be open under the current plans have not yet been revealed.