The decision to halt the closure of recycling centres in Cowdenbeath and Cupar has been welcomed.
However, a warning has been also been sounded that by not closing the facilities, the £200,000 which might have been saved by the closure will have to come from elsewhere.
Fife Council’s Labour administration last week published its draft budget, which outlines how it intends to plug a £77 million budget black hole over the next three years.
Among the proposals are suggestions to save £7.5 million from the transport budget.
However, the proposal to close the two recycling centres, which would have saved £80,000 in 2016/17 and £200,000 in 2017/18, have been rejected by the administration.
It said “this proposal would have a detrimental impact at a time when we are trying to encourage the public to recycle more”.
Cupar independent Fife councillor Bryan Poole told The Courier: “The fact that the closure of recycling centres seems to be flagged up by council officers every year as we gear up to budget setting is, I think, a clear sign of the real difficulties Fife Council has balancing its budget.
“Council officials are as committed as councillors more so in some cases in encouraging Fifers to recycle.
“Proposing the closure of any recycling centre wouldn’t have been proposed without very careful consideration and I’m sure, a heavy heart.
“From a personal perspective, I was taken by the argument put forward by the secretary of Cupar Community Council, Douglas Provan.
“He was pointing out that if there is to be an additional 1,400 houses in Cupar by no means a certainty then it would be ridiculous to close the recycling centre at this time.
“But I would want also to give a word of warning. The anticipated savings associated with the proposed closure of Cupar and Cowdenbeath recycling centres around £200,000 will have to be found from elsewhere and that will have an impact on the services which Fife Council can deliver.”
Cupar Liberal Democrat Fife councillor Margaret Kennedy said: “I am extremely frustrated that this item has come back from officers for consideration within the budget process once again.
“During the last administration we expressed a view that this should not be represented to councillors.
“Budget time is always challenging, no matter who are the decision makers. However, the council’s political and policy decisions should be reflected in its budgetary planning.
“Recycling provision plays an integral part in how Fife Council secures and retains its standing within the environmental protection agenda.
“To close this site would be to completely contradict that and most definitely increase the carbon footprint of the Cupar population.”
And Cupar SNP Fife councillor Karen Marjoram added: “The Cupar recycling centre is one of the busiest and most well used in Fife.
“The threat to close this and other sites is only off the radar for the coming financial year and I am concerned that it’s even on a list that was rejected.
“The Cupar depot has already cut its opening hours to save money and the last thing we need as a community is the loss of a much-used facility.”