RESIDENTS in Lea and Cleverton have launched a campaign to reverse Wiltshire Council’s plan to bin the county’s mini recycling centres.

Their parish council claims the decision has been taken on purely financial grounds and says banks at Lea are needed as an overspill for the kerbside collections.

“Our parishioners tell us that they do not want additional boxes or bins as they often have difficulty storing the existing ones within their property,” said chairman John Cull in a report due to be discussed at tonight’s Malmesbury Area Board meeting.

“It is also said that full black boxes are heavy to carry to the point of collection. The suggestion of extra items being placed in plastic bags alongside the black box is seen as a retrograde step that will lead to general spillage due to either mishandling or attack overnight by foxes or other animals.”

He said residents had already warned they would put surplus recycling in their general waste bins in a bid to avoid a 10-mile round trip to the nearest main recycling site.

“The decision has been taken purely on financial grounds without consultation, without proper consideration of the overall effect and above all against the wishes of the end user. We believe that there will be a financial impact but not the one anticipated,” he said.

Parish councillors believed their village was representative of many others in Wiltshire and have predicted that as a result of the changes, a significant proportion of the 3,000 tonnes currently collected at the mini sites would end up in landfill.

Cllr Cull explained: “Assuming that only half of the 3,000 tonnes is placed to landfill the cost to the county at £80 per tonne would equate to £120,000 - a figure very close to the anticipated saving from closing the facilities.

“So why withdraw this valuable facility – why not encourage the use of these centres and save money in the process?”

The unitary authority announced last month that it was phasing out its 126 mini centres during May because of the success of kerbside recycling.