Ambleside residents protest over plans to close recycling centre

Fly-tipping could increase if recycling centres in South Lakeland and Eden are closed, protestors claim.

Around 150 people turned out for a public meeting at Ambleside’s household waste recycling centre to oppose Cumbria County Council plans to close six sites in the county. Under the proposals, Ambleside, Kirkby Stephen and Grange would be shut in a bid to cut costs.

But resident Bev Dennison said: “We fought for years to improve facilities at this site. Now we have got them, they want to close it if they get their way. The closure of this centre will mean everybody facing a round trip of 30 to 40 miles to the nearest site at Kendal. At a time when authorities are trying to reduce people’s carbon footprints, it is just absolute madness. Perhaps the site needs a haircut in terms of its opening hours – that would make more sense.”

Windermere county councillor Jo Stephenson said: “We know times are hard but this is the wrong place to make cuts. We have done such a lot of work to encourage people to recycle and regenerate as much as possible, so it would be a terrible step back.”

 Fellow county councillor David Earnshaw added: “This site at Ambleside is so valuable. It is unthinkable that it should close.”

Coun Tim Knowles, cabinet member for environment, said no decision had been made, adding: “The consultation has already produced some interesting ideas, such as looking into the viability of community-run centres or getting trade operators to run some sites on our behalf. As long as we deliver the necessary savings, and our HWRCs can operate safely and effectively, then I’m more than happy to consider any alternatives to outright closure.