Councillors vote for recycling centre hybrid booking system in Kincardine and Mearns

Councillors have voted to try out a “hybrid” booking system at recycling centres in Kincardine and Mearns.

The hybrid booking system will be in place at recycling centres in Kincardine and Mearns.
The hybrid booking system will be in place at recycling centres in Kincardine and Mearns.

The decision means residents will be able to choose between booking an allocated time slot or turning up on days when booking won’t be needed.

It came amid calls for a “return to normality”, and claims the booking system meant some residents were finding it “more convenient” to travel to Brechin or Montrose to dump their rubbish.

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An online booking system has been in place across Aberdeenshire since the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

The decision will affect the centres in Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk.

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Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee met on Tuesday last week to discuss the matter.

Council officers had come up with three options for consideration:

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Option 1

Retain the full booking system across all sites.

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Option 2

An extended hybrid proposal which would allow non-booking days on Wednesday and Saturday from Monday, November 28 through to July 28 2023.

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Option 3

Remove the booking system for all sites from Monday, November 28 through to July 28 2023.

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Councillor George Carr backed the removal of the booking system.

He said: “People felt that this was introduced for social distancing and to assist during Covid, but we’ve moved on now and they feel that we need to get back to normality.”

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He even noted that some residents feel it is “more convenient” to go to recycling centres in Brechin or Montrose where booking is not required at all.

Committee chairwoman Wendy Agnew said that constituents had reached out to her asking for the open recycling centres to return.

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She added: “They want it back, they’ve had enough.”

But councillor Dawn Black recommended members choose the hybrid option.

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She argued that booking systems have helped to reduce trade waste and the cost impact it has on the council.

Meanwhile councillor Sarah Dickinson said the move to hybrid was a “good solution”.

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She said: “I do recognise there are people who are not content with online booking, they see it as an inconvenience.

“There are people who are not online for whom it is difficult to get a booking.

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“It’s not a long period, let’s see what the implications are and if it helps down the line in terms of continuing to have an impact on trade waste.

“If we spend the money there it’s money we cannot spend elsewhere.”

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The matter went to a vote resulting in seven members opting for hybrid and five choosing to remove booking completely.

Changes to recycling centres across Aberdeenshire were agreed at last month’s infrastructure services committee.

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A hybrid system will also be introduced at sites across Formartine but the full booking system will stay in place across Garioch.

Meanwhile the booking systems are to be scrapped in the Buchan, Banff and Buchan, and Marr areas.

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Information collected during the six month trial will allow council officers to determine what the next steps should be for the region’s recycling centres.