Opposition leaders have hit out at plans to slash the opening hours of two recycling centres.
Aberdeen City Council has announced changes to the hours of the household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) at Pitmedden Road in Dyce, which will now be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The site at East Tullos will also be closed on Wednesdays as part of measures which the council says have been introduced to reduce costs and increase revenue to bridge its £41.2 million funding gap.
The city’s other recycling centres Scotstown Road, Bankhead Avenue and Grove Nursery, Hazlehead will remain accessible seven days a week. Earlier this year the city council announced residents would be charged £30 for garden waste collections.
That too was introduced to claw back cash lost to the funding gap.
The city council’s waste and recycling spokesman Philip Bell said: “We remain committed to continuing to provide a good level of service at our household waste and recycling centres and the sites and days selected are historically quieter, which helps ensure that the change will have minimal impact on site users.”
Councillors have hit out at the move, claiming it flies in the face of the local authority’s advice to people not willing to pay for the garden waste permits.
The council has previously advised people to use HWRCs to dispose of their waste.
Liberal Democrat group leader Ian Yuill accused the council of making it difficult for people to recycle.
He said: “The council has spent the last five months telling people who do not want to pay the garden tax they can take their garden waste to their local household waste and recycling centre – and now the council is dramatically cutting the opening hours of two of those centres.
“This seems almost designed to make it more difficult to recycle. Having different opening days for household waste and recycling centres across the city is bound to cause confusion.
“The real risk is that if people are not sure which days their local household waste and recycling centre is open, they may choose just to put recyclable material into their black wheelie bin instead.”
Mr Yuill’s sentiments were echoed by SNP councillors, who urged city leaders to encourage people to recycle more.
Dyce representative Neil MacGregor said: “We know we should be trying to reduce the waste sent to landfill and recycle or reuse where possible, so it is odd that the administration is cutting back on the hours when centres are open.
“Is this not likely to increase fly-tipping, which costs the city dearly and is so unsightly?”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
And Hazlehead, Queen’s Cross and Countesswells councillor John Cooke added: “There are clear environmental, economic, and social benefits to increasing the amount of waste we recycle. Indeed, there are national and local targets.
“We should be encouraging folk to recycle more and making it easier for them to do so, and I’m concerned that this move might have the opposite effect.
“We need to monitor the volumes of waste being recycled at the centres to ensure we’re still making progress.”
The reduction in opening hours follows Aberdeenshire Council’s move earlier this year to cut hours at all but two of its centres.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Local authorities are autonomous bodies and it is the responsibility of individual councils to manage their own budgets and allocate the financial resources available to them on the basis of local priorities.
“Aberdeen City Council will receive £380.6m to fund local services in 2019-20.
“Taken together with the council’s decision to increase council tax by 4.5%, Aberdeen City Council will have an additional £25.7m to support services,compared to 2018-19.”