Staff at Fife’s 11 household waste recycling centres will be wearing body cameras from next week to record instances of abuse amid controversial access changes.
The move is part of a number of measures designed to stop commercial misuse of the sites from January, but the safety precautions are coming in early to avoid flashpoints in the run-up to the festive season.
Also being pushed through early are automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems, which are being introduced to gather evidence on vehicle usage and are seen as key weapons in the fight against traders trying to avoid paying fees.
Pedestrian access, as revealed by The Courier recently, will also be prohibited at recycling centres for safety reasons, but Fife Council has confirmed that a month-long trial at Cupar recycling centre will allow pedestrians to book a slot to access the centre from noon as it closed to allow traffic to leave the site before the lunch closure at 12.15pm.
The trial has been welcomed by Cupar Liberal Democrat councillor Margaret Kennedy, but she expressed disappointment at the “rigidity” of the access proposed.
“I will await with interest the reaction of the community as to whether this will serve their needs,” she said.
However, St Andrews Liberal Democrat councillor Jane Ann Liston was dismayed to hear there is no such plans for pedestrian provision in St Andrews.
“It makes no sense for Fife Council to encourage people to use the recycling centres responsibly if they then ban people walking in with portable items,” she said.
“There also seems to have been a wilful misunderstanding about the St Andrews situation.
“There are no alternative recycling points within easy walking distance from the likes of John Knox Road and even if there were, these tend not to take small electrical appliances, small wooden items, waste cooking oil and mattresses, all of which are portable on two or possibly four legs.
“My constituents without cars living within shouting distance of the recycling centre will face real inconvenience disposing of the likes of even glass bottles, not to mention collecting food waste bags – it is ridiculous to expect somebody to drive a car to collect a tiny roll of biodegradable bags.”
Residents and businesses are being reminded that a new cashless payment system for commercial customers will start on January 3, with business customers expected to register online before topping up their balance.
Charges are based on vehicle size, material type and fill level of vehicles and/or volume of waste, while residents disposing of waste using a trailer will be asked to confirm they are disposing of household waste by completing a declaration form and providing proof of address. No wheeled bins will be allowed either.
Pedestrians wanting to take advantage of the trial period at Cupar can book via firstname.lastname@example.org and will be able to access the site at noon.