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Changes at Surrey's Community Recycling Centres

Surrey County Council (SCC) needs to find significant savings in 2019/20 to ensure that it's financially robust. This has meant the council has had to review the services that it does provide, and faces some difficult decisions on changes that it needs to make. One of these areas is the provision of community recycling centres (CRCs).

SCC have sought the views of residents and other stakeholders on proposed changes to CRCs via a public consultation that ran from 30 October 2018 to 4 January 2019. On 29 January 2019, the council's Cabinet agreed for these changes to be implemented.


Changes from 7 May 2019

Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham CRCs

From 7 May 2019 the following community recycling centres (CRCs) will only accept recycling. This a trial whilst we review alternative options for maintaining an effective service, and to see if it helps residents recycle even more waste.

Please see each CRC webpage for information on what they can and cannot accept and what restrictions apply.

Please note:

  • If you bring both recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste to these sites, you will only be allowed to dispose of your recyclable waste. Non-recyclable waste can be taken to the following community recycling centres below.
  • Staff have been provided with training and guidance to assess your waste, and their decision is final.
  • The law states that the council may restrict the availability of specified places to specified descriptions of waste.

Where you can take your non-recyclable waste

  • You may be able to dispose of your non-recyclable waste at you kerbside collection or if you have large items, you can apply for a bulk waste collection for a charge. Please see your local district/borough website for more information.
  • Items in reusable condition or working order can be donated to a local charity or advertised through a free community exchange scheme such as: Freecycle, Freegle or Freely Wheely or furniture can be donated to the Surrey Reuse Network.

Alternatively, there are 11 CRCs where you can take non-recyclable waste. Please see the following for information on what you can and cannot take and what restrictions apply:

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Caterham CRC

From 1 June 2019 Caterham CRC will continue to accept wood (construction or non-construction) and roofing felt.

Where you can take your wood

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Upcoming changes

Charge for van, pickup and trailer waste permit

We are making a charge to recover the cost of administering the van, pickup and trailer waste permit scheme.

We expect the charge will be £5 to £10 per permit, which will entitle you to 12 visits in a 12 month period. The exact charge will be confirmed in due course.

Once the details have been confirmed we will start a separate communication campaign for existing van, pickup and trailer waste permit holders and users of community recycling centres, to inform them what is changing and when.

If you do not have a paid permit when the charge comes in, you will be refused entry. However, we are working to ensure online payments can be taken at the site via a mobile phone, which will allow residents to pay on the spot, and be granted entry to the site.

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Questions you may have about the changes

We are constantly reviewing the community recycling service, so we can offer the best service to residents that we can. The latest changes continue to meet industry good guidance, cover the costs for services we're not obliged to deliver for free, and focus on recycling and reuse.

When was the public consultation?

Between 30 October 2018 and 4 January 2019, we issued a public consultation on changes to the community recycling centres. On 29 January 2019, the council's Cabinet agreed for these changes to be implemented.

The council consulted on the permanent closure of Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham. However the council decision was instead to restrict these sites to recycling only on a trial basis. As the council is still maintaining a service at these sites that is considered to be less impactful than permanent closures, it does not need to consult on this as an option.

What to do if you disagree with the changes?

If you wish to raise objections to these changes, please do so by contacting your local county councillor, as our complaints procedure cannot be used to investigate decisions taken by the cabinet.

How will the changes be communicated?

A communications campaign to introduce and explain the charges was launched in early April 2019, and this included:

  • Banners at sites.
  • Flyers to site users.
  • Information on the Surrey County Council website.
  • Information at libraries, local council offices and other key locations.
  • Social media and digital advertising.

Why have the changes that were due to take place on 3 June been deferred?

We are committed to the environment and making recycling as easy as possible for our residents. Therefore Surrey County Council's cabinet has decided to defer the introduction of charges for disposing of construction wood waste and roofing felt, to allow the council to draw up a coordinated waste strategy.

Please see the Surrey News website for the Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver's statement announcing the deferral.

The main points are as follows:

  • Charges for construction wood waste will no longer be introduced on 3 June. Instead the charges for construction wood waste and roofing felt will become part of a review of SCC's waste and recycling service which is already underway.
  • The existing charges for other forms of DIY waste are unchanged and will continue to be in place.
  • Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham CRCs can only accept recycling. This is a trial, and is already part of SCC's review of waste and recycling services.
  • From Saturday 1 June you will be able to take wood waste to Caterham CRC.
  • You will not be able to take chargeable waste to Farnham CRC from Monday 3 June, but wood waste can still be taken to the site.

Will the changes increase fly tipping?

From our experience of recent changes to the service, and anecdotal evidence from other local authorities that have changed their recycling centre service, fly-tipping is not expected to increase.

In recent years the service have introduced measures to enforce against illegitimate use of CRCs by traders and this is reflected in the lower amounts of waste and visitors that the service is now dealing with. However it's possible that some traders are still illegitimately using the CRCs for free, and the risk of fly-tipping remains. The service will continue to monitor the position with fly-tipping, and will work with partners to tackle the issue.

You must not leave your waste outside a community recycling centre, if it no longer accepts the type of waste you wish to dispose of or it is closed. Fly-tipping is a criminal offence, carrying an unlimited fine or a five year prison sentence. Vehicles used for fly tipping can be seized and destroyed on conviction.

Isn't waste and recycling already covering by my council tax?

Council tax covers the cost of collecting, recycling and disposing of household waste. It does not cover waste or materials that are not classified as household waste. Therefore the council can apply charges to cover the cost of dealing with this waste. CRCs were not designed to accept large quantities of this type of waste.

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