Protesters at closure-threatened Angus recycling centres have implored the local authority and their elected members to “save our skips”.
Sites in five burghs may be axed next week as part of a drive to save £250,000 a year from Angus Council’s recycling services.
Earlier plans to slash centres in Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar, Kirriemuir and Monifieth were put on hold last month after councillors – and a massive public outcry – asked officers to come up with alternative ways to save the cash.
A suite of five options will be presented to councillors on Tuesday, but the initial proposal is still the preferred option for council chiefs.
Reports of the new proposal were met with concern, and last-minute protests were organised in Carnoustie and Brechin.
Laura-May Kennedy, who organises the community Facebook page Save Angus Recycling Centres, said she would like the council to offer residents a voice.
She said: “I understand that councils are under budgetary pressures at the moment but the recycling centres are well used, they service the whole community, and I think Monifieth, Carnoustie and Brechin residents are going to have to travel far to get to a recycling centre.
“Also, with the proposed charge for green recycling bins, people are going to be using recycling centres more to avoid the charge, and centres are going to be busier.
“Angus Council have been really good at rolling out recycling and zero waste, and I think it’s a shame that they seem to be stepping back from that.
“People need to be asked what they feel is the right thing to do, otherwise there’s no local democracy.”
Anti-cuts campaigner Joanne McFadden from Easthaven was the Labour candidate for South Angus in this month’s Scottish elections.
She said: “We’re seeing cuts to our vital public services, not just to our recycling centres but cuts to elderly sheltered housing care and the loss of wardens’ jobs.
“We’ve had consultation from the council but no dialogue.
“When we have had dialogue with them, it seems to fall on deaf ears.
“What we want is for our council and our Scottish Government to be listening to the people of Scotland and what it is they want for our communities.”
In Brechin, the proposal was described as a “fly-tipper’s charter”.
Brechin resident Douglas Murray believes savings can be made in the council’s own staffing without cutting “front line services”.
“The proposal to close all these sites has basically been done without any public consultation, which is one thing the council have advocated over the years,” he said.
“The current proposal here is one which is going to resound throughout the county and give Angus Council a very bad name.
“No other local authority in Scotland, at the moment, is going down this route.”
The plan will mean the phased closure of the Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar, Kirriemuir and Monifieth facilities.
Arbroath and Montrose will be retained and upgraded under the proposals, with a new centre to be developed between Forfar and Kirriemuir.
This would not necessarily be at Padanaram as a “suitable location” is yet to be identified.
Approximately £135,000 will be spent to improve the site at Cairnie Loan in Arbroath, and £230,000 at Broomfield Road, Montrose.
A skip servicing agreement at the village of Edzell will also come to an end, with the recycling centre likely to become a “Neighbourhood Recycling Point.”
Officers would pursue an arrangement with Dundee City Council, whereby south Angus residents would be welcome to take trips to nearby Baldovie.
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “Recycling centres are a part of our overall recycling and waste collection service and we believe that the proposals made will provide centres that are straightforward to use and will offer a customer experience that is fit for the 21st Century.
“As part of the review we contacted councils that have closed recycling centres and they reported no increase in fly tipping as a result.
“As set out in the report, overall the severity of any fly tipping problem was considered a low level of risk to have a significant financial impact, and as it is a criminal offence this would be tackled through increased vigilance and prioritising investigation of all fly tipping incidences.”