An online booking system to use Fife recycling centres could be here to stay, despite the easing of lockdown.
Fife Council has recommended keeping it in place indefinitely after a review found it is working well.
Environment head Ken Gourlay said pre-booking slots at the region’s 11 tips had improved safety and saved hundreds of thousands of pounds.
And he said staff had unanimously asked for it to remain in place.
“Staff no longer dread coming to work,”
Ken Gourlay, Fife Council.
This follows a fall in the level of abuse and threats against them by traders caught trying to pass their loads off as household waste.
“Staff no longer dread coming to work,” Mr Gourlay said.
Most Fifers questioned during a recent survey said they also preferred the booking system.
And Mr Gourlay said scrapping it could cost the council between £800,000 and £1.5 million a year.
This is mainly because it will be more difficult to stop people dumping trade waste and rubbish from other local authorities, as was happening pre-Covid.
However, it remains unpopular with many people who insist it is responsible for an increase in fly-tipping across the region.
Critics also claim booking online is difficult for some, although telephone booking has also now been introduced.
Fife recycling centres are run on the council’s behalf by the arms’-length company Fife Resource Solutions.
But Mr Gourlay has asked councillors to endorse the organisation’s plans to continue with the system when they meet on Thursday.
‘People hate it’
However, the recommendation has prompted fury in some quarters.
East Neuk councillor Linda Holt has launched a petition calling for the booking system to be scrapped.
“I’m really cross about the recommendation,” she said.
“It’s the most disgraceful, self-serving report I’ve ever read.
“The East Neuk has a high number of holiday homes and people staying overnight can’t book a slot at a recycling centre before they leave.
“As a result, recycling points and public bins are overflowing.”
The All4Unity councillor said all the community councils in the area wanted to bin the online system and added: “People hate it.”
The key thing is in the sentence where they talk about the money they’ve saved.”
Councillor Linda Holt.
Ms Holt also questioned the result of the survey where 54% of the 3,287 people asked wanted to keep the booking system.
“I think that’s a self-selected sample,” she said.
“My lot in the East Neuk are really cross about it and think there’s a direct link with fly-tipping and overflowing bins.
“The key thing is in the sentence where they talk about the money they’ve saved. That’s what it’s all about.”
Conservative councillor Darren Watt is also disappointed with the recommendation.
“There are no acceptable reasons why residents should continue to book a time slot simply to dispose of their excess waste,” he said.
“The vast majority of people just want to recycle locally, efficiently and responsibly.”
Essential for health and safety
The council’s environment convener, SNP councillor Ross Vettraino, said he would also prefer to see the booking system scrapped.
But he said it was essential to continue it for health and safety reasons to protect both staff and the community.
People might not be happy about it but they need to respect the duty Fife Resource Solutions have.”
Councillor Ross Vettraino.
“People might not be happy about it but they need to respect the duty Fife Resource Solutions have,” he said.
“I’m sure those people who say they’re not happy would not like to see staff and members of the public put at unnecessary risk.”
He added: “It was costing council taxpayers in excess of £1.5m a year to dispose of waste that had been illegally dumped.
“The booking system mitigates against that.”