This decision follows discussion about the council’s progress to close a £17m gap in its budget that took place in a meeting of the council’s Executive in December. One of the possibilities put forward was closing the facility to save an estimated £300k a year, reducing the number of recycling centres in North Somerset from three to two.
Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: “We’ve listened to residents and the strong feeling against proposals to close Backwell Recycling Centre and acted on this by removing this from next year’s budget.
“Like all councils across the country, we face continuing inflationary cost pressures and stretched resources. At the same time, we are seeing rising demands on our services from more residents being pushed into poverty. We continue to work hard to explore cost savings that could be made right across the council to close the budget gap for next year, which is about 10 per cent of our net budget. Unfortunately, we’re having to make really tough decisions.
“We have one of the best recycling rates in the country currently and we will continue to encourage people to reduce, re-use and recycle as much as possible by delivering our ambitious waste strategy”.
Councillor Bridget Petty, the council’s ward member for Backwell and executive member responsible for the climate emergency, said: “Along with other local councillors, I was contacted by many residents who raised their concerns over the potential closure of Backwell Recycling Centre. Villagers can see both sides – while some support the closure due to concern about traffic, many others are keen to protect local jobs and retain a facility that they value.
“One of the council’s key priorities is to be a carbon neutral council and area by 2030. I’m keen for us as council to be working with residents to reduce the number of visits that they feel they need to make to all our recycling centres and promote re-use within our communities”.
There were approximately 80,000 visits to Backwell Recycling Centre in 2021/22.
Read the council’s waste strategy at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wastestrategy.
Councillors will meet on Tuesday 21 February to agree the budget and council tax for the year ahead. The meeting will take place at 6pm at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare and can be watched online. A link will be published, along with the meeting papers, in due course at https://n-somerset.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=169&MId=990.