Conservative MS for Brecon and Radnorshire James Evans has voiced concerns with Powys County Council over their planned upgrade works to Brecon Recycling Centre.
The centre, located at Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate, temporarily closed its doors on the 20th of November so that it can undergo important safety upgrades to improve the site user experience.
The refurbishment of the recycling centre will include new, safer hardstanding across the site, upgraded drainage, an improved one-way system with easier access, a safer parking area, and a dedicated area for leaving items for re-use. It means that the centre will be closed for three months.
But Mr Evans has raised concerns of residents who have written to him to complain about the uneven yellow metal steps access to each skip, which he says is not part of the refurbishment process. Mr Evans says that many elderly and less mobile residents have told him they cannot use the recycling centre because the slippery steps are a struggle.
James Evans MS has also quizzed Powys County Council on why arrangements have not been made for Crickhowell area residents to use the Llanfoist recycling centre which is just a few miles away during the three-month closure period.
James Evans MS said: “It is disappointing to hear that no improvements will be made to the access steps for the skips. The yellow steps are proving difficult for many residents and I had hoped that accessibility would have been improved along the lines of the other recycling centres in Powys.
"I am pleased to see that alternative provision will be made for green waste. However, there are no alternative arrangements being made for hard or soft plastics whilst the centre is closed and I am fearful we will see more of this material ending up in landfill or worse still being dumped on roadsides illegally."
A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “To conform with NRW requirements, improve safety and to better utilise the site, the Brecon Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) is currently closed for refurbishment. The improvements to the site will include upgraded drainage and a new site surface and layout improving traffic flow and safety as well as a separate area to accept items for re-use.
“Unfortunately at Brecon, the size and topography of the site does not lend itself to create a split level site, which would enable us to remove the use of steps and gantries, like we have at Lower Cwmtwrch HWRC.
“As a result, we will need to continue with use of steps to access the skips as is commonplace on many such sites across the UK. The steps are regularly inspected to ensure that they comply with health and safety requirements and site users can ask the attendants for assistance if they struggle to use them at any time, they are there to help.
“We hope that most people will be able hang on to their waste and recycling which cannot be collected through the kerbside collections for the duration of the closure, or take to an alternative household waste recycling centre.
“We appreciate this isn’t so easy for garden waste so we have set up a ‘drop off’ service at the old Brecon high school site on Penlan, off Cerrigcochion Road, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings (9am-1pm).
“Cardboard can be taken to one of the following local community recycling sites in Brecon Richway, Crickhowell, Cwmdu, Hay on Wye, Llangynidr, Sennybridge or Talgarth.
"Monmouthshire County Council were approached regarding the use of their HWRC in Llanfoist, but they confirmed that the site was already operating at full capacity and could therefore not accept additional visitors or material from Powys.”
On their website, Powys County Council state that residents wishing to recycle items not collected at the kerbside will be able to visit one of the other four centres in the county, the closest of which are in Llandrindod Wells (open Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun) and Lower Cwmtwrch (open Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun). They say that cardboard can be taken to community recycling sites, such as Brecon Richway, Crickhowell, Sennybridge and Talgarth. Garden waste can be taken to the old Brecon high school site in Penlan, off Cerrigcochion Road, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm.