A booking system to use Fife recycling centres is to remain in place for now.
Councillors have been accused of putting up two fingers to the people of Fife after they rejected pleas to scrap the controversial system immediately.
A restriction limiting householders to just three visits to a recycling centre per week will also be kept in place over the summer.
The move comes despite a petition signed by almost 4,000 people calling for online bookings to be scrapped.
And a Courier poll on the issue found 83% of the 553 respondents wanted an end to the system.
However, members of Fife Council’s environment and protective services sub-committee agreed that since Covid cases are again on the rise, the restrictions should remain in place for at least another three months.
They have asked officers to draw up a plan for how normal operations can resume safely. These will discussed in September.
If agreed, the booking system will be removed as soon as possible after that.
A review is coming.”
Councillor Jean Hall Muir.
SNP councillor Jean Hall Muir said: “We put this booking system in place as a direct result of the Covid situation.
“Numbers are rising and we have to provide a service safely for the safety of staff and users.
“We have to be tolerant and flexible. A review is coming.”
But North East Fife councillor Linda Holt, who started the online petition this week, reacted with fury at the news.
“They’ve given the people of Fife two fingers,” she said.
“Fifers have been unequivocal. They want the booking system scrapped and see no reason to retain it.
“Councillors think they know best and I find it quite shocking.”
The All4Unity councillor added: “It’s incredibly depressing they don’t think they need to listen to the people of Fife.
“We don’t need a booking system. There’s nothing to discuss.”
They’ve given the people of Fife two fingers.”
Councillor Linda Holt.
Conservative councillors on the committee agreed to the continuation of online booking but asked for restrictions on the number of times people can visit Fife recycling centres to be removed.
At present, people with cars can only make three trips per week and those with 4x4s can go once a week.
Councillor Graham Ritchie said the cap on visits was discriminatory to those in rural communities.
“Some communities don’t have brown bins for garden waste and if they’ve got a big hedge cut or whatever they need to be able to get rid of the cuttings,” he said.
“We wanted the three visits per week to be scrapped and we wanted it done now.”
‘No evidence’ booking system led to increase in fly-tipping
A report to the committee by environment head Ken Gourlay said the booking system was working well and should stay.
He said pre-booking slots had improved safety and saved hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Staff also unanimously asked for it to remain in place after it led to a drop in abuse from traders trying to illegally dump commercial waste.
Mr Gourlay said there was no evidence the system had led to a rise in fly-tipping but conceded there was also no evidence it hadn’t.
Every member of the committee said they had been inundated by members of the public asking for restrictions to be lifted.
But most agreed it should be given careful consideration to ensure it was done safely.
Labour councillor Altany Craik said: “This is a service we run for the people of Fife.
“I think the booking system is an impediment towards a return to normality.
“As we come out the other side of Covid and back to proper normality, I think access to our recycling centres will have benefits – not least on fly-tipping rates.”