re3’s recycling centres in Reading and Bracknell have successfully reduced visitor numbers from outside of the re3 area with the new policy of only accepting waste from Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham council tax payers.
re3’s decision to introduce visitor permits and ID checking was prompted by West Berkshire Council’s withdrawal of an annual £500,000 contribution that allowed their residents to use the re3 recycling centres – most notably the site on Island Road, Reading - to dispose of their household waste.
In order to protect re3 area council tax payers from funding the waste disposal costs of residents from other local authority areas, the Partnership Councils of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham made the decision to restrict access to the recycling centres to re3 area residents only.
10,847 visits were recorded in the first seven days of the visitor access change at the Reading recycling centre, of which 900 vehicles were turned away.
For the same number of days during the previous week, 11,584 visitors were registered at the Reading site. Compared to the 9,947 allowed on site this week, this is a decrease of 14%. Reading recycling centre visit numbers are also down 778 on the same period last year.
Fewer West Berkshire residents will have made the longer trip to use the Bracknell recycling centre, but in the first seven days of the change implementation, 272 vehicles were refused entry out of 12,343 visits.
Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham residents pay for the re3 recycling centres from their council tax. The visitor access changes were implemented at both Bracknell and Reading to clamp down on the number of non-residents taking advantage of the facilities, and to ensure that if, having been denied access to one site, non-residents would not be able to drive to the other re3 recycling centre to dispose of their household waste.
Extensive work was undertaken to communicate the changes ahead of their implementation, including reports on local television, radio, newspapers and news websites, so although it is difficult to gauge, non-re3 area residents who had previously used the recycling centres may have already switched to using those provided by their own councils.
Bracknell Forest’s Executive Member for Environment and Chairman of the Joint Waste Disposal Board, Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE said: “I have seen at first hand the excellent job that our friendly, hardworking recycling centre staff are doing to help implement this change as smoothly as possible. Our message is clear; in order to continue providing an equitable and cost effective service, we can now only accept household waste from re3 area residents.
“To prove that you are a re3 area resident, please use your windscreen permit or bring valid ID in the form of a photocard driving licence and proof of address like a council tax bill when visiting our recycling centres.”
Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Neighourhoods, Cllr Liz Terry said: “We have been encouraged by the numbers of residents using the permits when visiting the Bracknell and Reading recycling centres. When they are displayed in car windscreens it certainly helps to make the ID checking process easier and quicker. We understand the frustration sometimes experienced by those we have had to turn away, but we will always allow access to re3 area residents on receipt of a permit or valid ID, and visitors from other local authority areas can still use their own council’s facilities to dispose of their household waste.”
Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment Cllr Angus Ross said: “The re3 team has been working incredibly hard to bring in this critical change at very short notice. Once these and the September changes – small charges for non-household waste and the new commercial vehicle permit scheme – have had a chance to embed, we may be able to review the situation and investigate a charging system for non-re3 area residents that would allow them to use our facilities. In the meantime, we’d like to thank our visitors for their patience and support.”
The vast majority of recycling centre visitors have been amenable and supportive of the change. Meet and greet staff are on hand at the entrance of each site to provide assistance and to signpost visitors to further sources of information should they require it. Staff have been given body worn cameras to record any incidences of aggression or abuse, which will not be tolerated, and CCTV is in operation at both the Bracknell and Reading sites.
Opening hours have not changed and remain 8am – 8pm during the summer months of April to September.Back