Waste booking system set to be made permanent

Essex’s booking system for recycling is set to be made permanent. Essex County Council cabinet is set to agree that its system requiring people to pre-book a slot at its 21 recycling centres should stay.

The council has been operating a pilot since March 2023. It received more than 18,000 consultation responses – on average 58 per cent of car users agreed it should be kept while 72 per cent of van users agreed it should be retained.

However, there were significant differences across individual areas. Just about 20 per cent of people in Uttlesford said they wanted the booking system but in Rochford around 90 per cent of people were in favour.

The council has added the impact of a booking process on the level of fly­tipping has been a key area of concern for some residents.

However, no direct link has been identified between the introduction of the booking process and the level of reported fly-tipping in Essex.

It adds overall waste tonnage trends have been largely unaffected by the introduction of a booking process and there is no indication that bulky waste is being transferred from the recycling centres into kerbside collections.

The council says the system has helped manage demand across the recycling centre network to reduce the queues and congestion that were being experienced at peak times.

A statement as part of Essex County Council cabinet papers to be agreed upon when it meets on February 27 adds: “The evaluation of all three phases of the pilot has shown that the booking process is a cost­ effective way to make optimum use of available capacity across the recycling network to support the needs of the current and growing population of Essex”.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter