Monday 21 January 2019

Alarm at suggestion of recycling charges

Fees being considered at recycling centres to help defray costs

Esther Hayden

Charges at the county's recycling facilities are being considered as part of this year's budget.

Cllr Pat Fitzgerald said that, at a recent SPC meeting, the members had been informed that the council is considering imposing charges at the county's recycling centres to help defray costs.

At the most recent meeting of Arklow Municipal District, Cllr Fitzgerald said he wouldn't be supporting any such move. He said a similar charge had been imposed in Wexford some time ago and people from north Wexford were now coming to Arklow to do their recycling for free.

'If we start charging for recycling we will create a huge amount of problems in the county', he said.

He acknowledged that the recycling centres were running at a deficit in the region of €900,000 but said if 'we start charging €2 or €3 where does it end?

'People are used to getting their recycling for free,' he said.

'There are other ways of finding funds in the budget. This will cause mayhem.'

Cllr Mary McDonald said 'if we start charging it would end up costing the environmental section' because of illegal dumping.

'She said some people are already paying private waste collectors for recycling and if they had to pay at recycling centres too it would be paying twice for the service.

'I can't see how that will work and it won't be environmentally friendly. It will end up costing us more in the long run because the council will have to pick up the illegally dumped rubbish.'

Cllr Pat Kennedy said he was 'shocked by the suggestion. The amount of rubbish being dumped at the minute is terrible. We are educating the future generations about reducing waste and recycling saying it is a free service and now we are talking about charging for it.'

Cllr Syl Bourke said he would be 'skeptical' about supporting the proposal. 'I can't see where this is coming from. If we reduce the costs, we might reduce costs. This should be a free service we offer.'

District manager Michael Geaney said no decision had been made on the proposal about charging but acknowledged it was 'in the mix' when it came to budget discussions. However, he told the members not to panic.

Wicklow People