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Decision on future of ‘Hope and Cursiter dumps due

The fate of two Orkney dumps is to be decided tomorrow morning, at a meeting of Orkney Islands Council’s development and infrastructure committee.

Back in April, the committee was faced with recommendations to close the Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRC) at St Margaret’s Hope and at Cursiter Quarry in Firth. At that time, councillors deferred any decision on the future of the dumps pending a further review of options for keeping them open.

As the matter returns to the agenda this Tuesday, the recommendation from officers is now that the dumps should remain open — but only for recyclable waste.

Prior to the pandemic, both facilities accepted all types of household waste — despite being unmanned. OIC is now determined to comply with SEPA regulations stipulating that these types of sites cannot be unstaffed, for health and safety reasons. Currently, both dumps are accepting only recyclable waste.

While the closure of the two waste and recycling centres would result in an annual saving of £32,000, a report by officers in April stated that an additional £255,000 would have to be spent in order to keep them open as HWRCs.

When the matter last came before committee, several councillors felt that the reason for this escalation in costs remained unclear, while others expressed doubts over whether the officers had fully taken the needs and opinions of the communities the dumps directly serve into account when making this proposal.

Tomorrow’s meeting will also see plans for a new integrated waste and recycling centre at Hatston up for discussion.

Any decision made at the meeting will be brought forward for full ratification at a general meeting of the council in due course.