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£3.7 million of improvements at a North Devon waste site

Sunday, 31 March 2024 10:29

By Alison Stephenson, local democracy reporter

Brynsworthy Environment Centre. (Image courtesy: Google Street View)

More recycling can be processed with new equipment

A North Devon waste site is about to get a revamp costing £3.7 million.

The project will be funded by North Devon Council which has operated the waste and recycling service at its headquarters at Brynsworthy near Barnstaple since 2010.

Councillors agreed to borrow an extra £350,000 at their full council meeting after approving the main costs last year.

Safety improvements are needed at the centre which currently has inadequate measures in place to protect it against fire and pollution. The work will also increase the amount of waste that can be taken to the centre and processed.

Frequent breakdowns of machines that bale recyclables like plastic and aluminum are costing £32,000 a year and the layout of the process hall and yard are having a negative effect on the efficiency of the service, members were told.

The new layout will separate council vehicles dropping off materials from other vehicles collecting recyclables, and also keep pedestrians safer from vehicle movements.

Queuing times for loading and unloading materials should reduce.

New baling equipment will process six times as much recyclable material as the current equipment which in term will generate more income.

It is also expected to future-proof the council for any changes it wantes to make to collection services in the future.

But council leader Ian Roome (Lib Dem, Barnstaple with Pilton) said although recycling capacity would increase, any move towards reducing black bin collections to three weekly is “over ambitious” at this stage.

Environment and waste officers told the council that improvement work had gone out to tender and firms had come back requesting “a bit more money” for the job.

Work can begin now that the council has approved the funds.

Head of environmental enhancement Mark Kentell said when work is complete, hopefully by Christmas, he would be concentrating on encouraging people to recycle more.

Currently the district recycles 48 per cent of its waste, the government has set targets of 55 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent by 2030.

Mr Kentell said the top two councils for recycling in the UK still ran fortnightly bin collections but he added that he would not be ruling out three-weekly collections at a future date.

North Devon Council recently gave itself planning permission for the improvements.

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