Richborough waste and recycling centre earmarked for closure in county council cost-cutting plan

Richborough waste centre (image google maps)

The Richborough waste and recycling centre looks set to close as part of Kent County Council measures to save £55 million on its budget.

A consultation is expected to launch in July with three options for closures – but Richborough is earmarked to shut on all of the options.

The other sites earmarked for closure under all options is Faversham.

A report to members on the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee – due to meet on May 23 – says: “Over the past decade, KCC has implemented a range of policy and service changes at Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) that have resulted in annual revenue savings of over £5m.

“The delivery of KCC’s medium term financial plan requires additional savings of £2.2m at HWRCs over the next two years. Around £700,000 of this is allocated to the delivery of greater materials segregation for recycling, increased reuse, black bag splitting to prevent materials going into residual waste and increasing trade waste recycling.

“The remaining £1.5m is allocated to a review of the number and operation of the sites. Of this £1.5m saving, the aim is to reduce the cost of the service by £500,000 in 2023/24, with a further £1m saving in 2024/25.”

Three options have been put forward:

Option 1 closure of sites at Dartford, Richborough, Maidstone and Faversham

Option 2 closure of Faversham, Maidstone and Richborough and 10 sites not co-located with a transfer station to close for two days per week

Option 3 Closure of Dartford, Faversham and Richborough and 10 sites not co-located with a transfer station to close for two days per week.

It means all options would lead to the closure of some sites- with Richborough named in all three – with two options closing fewer sites but reducing the opening hours on a number of the remaining sites.

A 12-week consultation with the public and with other stakeholders takes place on these options in July.

Waste centres in Kent

KCC currently operates a network of 19 Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) spread across the county. The sites receive approximately 1.7m visits per year, with around 96,000 tonnes of material being managed through the network.

Over the past decade, a range of policy and service changes have taken place including charging for non-household waste materials such as soil, rubble, hardcore, plasterboard and tyres, restricting access to the site for certain vehicles, from April 2023, charging non-Kent residents £10 to visit the sites and operating a booking system.

KCC says use of the sites has reduced significantly over the past five years. In 2017/18, 175,172 tonnes of material were managed through the sites, which reduced to 94,250 tonnes in 2022/23. Over the same period, the amount of fly tipped waste collected by district and borough councils reduced from 3,794 tonnes to 2,175 tonnes.

Full site closures will mean no longer paying business rates, utility costs, contractor charges, reduced haulage charges and where appropriate, lease costs.

The report says: “Analysis shows that it would be possible to meet the £1.5m savings target through the closure of sites at Dartford, Richborough, Maidstone and Faversham. This would reduce the number of households within a 20 minute off peak drive of a HWRC by 11,953, which equates to a reduction from 96% to 94.2% of all Kent households. The capacity of the network would also be reduced by 13,920 slots per week.”

For part closures the report says this could still achieve the £1.5million savings but: “the sites at Faversham and Richborough would need to close under all options.”

‘Challenging decisions’

Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Susan Carey, said: “The budget for 2023/24 agreed by KCC councillors in February identified the need to save £55 million this year from spending reductions and increased income to balance the budget. These savings are necessary to balance the books as the cost of services KCC provides has risen by more than £200 million.

“As part of these savings we are having to make some very challenging decisions about where we can offer our services in the most cost effective and efficient way possible.

“A report on KCC’s Household Waste Recycling Centre network will be discussed by the Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee on 23rd May with a proposal that a public consultation should take place to gather the views of residents and wider stakeholders.

“No decisions will be made until all options and feedback from the consultation have been considered.”



  1. Do they ever take into account the cost of clearing up all the extra fly tipped waste?

    Always pay more for less, that is the Tory mantra

  2. Here we go.
    Here’s my plan. Close all the sites in Tonbridge + Malling, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and anywhere where there is not deprivation.
    We stopped all this 8 years ago. It made no sense then and it makes no sense now.
    What is the point of KCC?
    It is pothole capital of the SE, it runs down bus services when central govt gives them money to expand bus services, and it continues with an expensive out of date education system that insists on sending kids by bus all over the county.
    Its time KCC was broken up and replaced.
    It of course doesn’t pay the cost when fly tipping increases and blights the lives of those living in East Kent and North Kent. It is indeed a rubbish council, for dealing with a rubbish problem.
    Rather than witter on about Manston how about complaining about this issue instead.

    • According to the piece,fly tipping has decreased in recent years.
      I actually find that quite hard to believe.

      • Yes I agree with you Phyllis, , you only have to see the regular fly tipping on the top of Margate Hill, Acol to see that’s not true and also on the narrow country lane from Shottendane Road leading to Woodchurch

      • The weight of the total flytipping has reduced but that does mean there are not increased incidences or greater volume, the whole article is full of statistics from KCC that have no doubt been cherry picked to present the case deemed needed.

    • Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks are very close together geographically, so how can they justify not closing one or more of these, when two sites in East Kent are target for closure?

      • Probably because Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks are where most if not all of the KCC councilors live!

  3. So. They aim to save a £million or two.
    Why do it in a fundamental service like waste disposal and recycling?
    Where are the office worker cuts? Where are the cuts to capital spending on the council’s own buildings?

  4. Oh well thanet is one of the scruffist places in the uk. So I guess this wont have much more of an impact. Abit more fly tipping to go with rest. Fly tipping, litter, graffiti everywhere.

    Thanet really is a dump when compared to other tourist places.

  5. This closure will make zero difference to cyclists and pedestrians. The Richborough facility never allows access to non-polluters.

    • Ian, so if you walk or cycle it means you don’t cause any pollution to the planet in anything you do? Global warming just solved by Ian, everyone just walk or cycle then you will never cause any pollution.

      No tips allow people on foot to bike, is for safety reasons. Also the tip is for dumping bulk waste, it’s not going to be bulk waste if you can carry it or cycle with it. Use your brain!

      • Just a bit harsh RL. Pretty obvious what Ian meant. Also, if you use a bike trailer you can her shed-loads of crap on it.

        • Garry, perhaps you could also explain to “RL” that a lot of households in Thanet have no recycling collections at all, so they have no choice but to deliver their goods to a public amenity, regardless of bulk. And if these tips were not so hostile to people with fewer than four wheels then they would put aside a small area by the entrance.

    • Yes it did there is a cycle and footpath along the A299 pass right by the site. Seen many cyclists on the path especially on Weekends

  6. More discrimination against East Kent by the Tory moguls in Maidstone. Really now time for unitary authorities that treat all communities fairly.

  7. the tip should apply for an arts grant = job done , most of the local art i have seen belongs in there anyway

  8. In diid a bathroom refit in Haywards heath. The next door neighbour had a big van . She and my customer loaded up all the rubbish and dumped it at the local tip for free and no questions asked. I was surprised that would not happen in Kent for sure. Not one bit of flytiping anywhere.

  9. Richborough is a superbly run site with really helpful staff who take a pride in keeping the site clean and tidy. A tragedy to close it. No mention of the pollution run-off from Margate site? KCC are useless.

    • Totally agree fantastic site with really helpful staff, a tragedy to close it. Speaking to the staff at the weekend I believe a petition is being organised. Please everyone sign, sign and sign!! We need to keep this site open!!

  10. With the booking system they are likely to have a lot of data on the habits of people using the sites and how far they travel and how often.

  11. Tory britain. Tax the peasants more and reduce their services.

    They stack up the money from all the companies they are invested in they’ve allowed to operate on low to no tax.

    Corrupt to the core.

    Ridiculous we will go from two tips to one open 5 days a week.

    Broken Britain

    Tories breaking as much as possible and leaving the biggest mess for Labour to sort out so they can weaponise their spending like always.

    • Disgusting decision by tories who are only concerned about west kent, booking system has failed to stop fly tipping. You pay more to receive less services . Oppose all 3 options

        • It was. So were face masks and so many other sensible things that have now been ditched. It’s clear the booking system isn’t needed now. It’s expensive to run too.

          No doubt the system is run and supported at great cost to one the the tories pals…. Like track and trace that never worked.

        • Yes, but it was retained, personally i find it much better than the old “just turn up” system. Book a slot turn uptowards the end of that slot and there’s usually no waiting at all, site is much tidier as well. Just my experience YMMV.

          • Totally agree ,love the booking system,the people against are ones that do not want or can’t be bothered,to go on line ,it is fast and easy ,it you haven’t got access to a computer ,get a member of you family of friend,it you are that completely cut off from people,any library with a computer ,you can do it ,so I have been told,stop the moaning about booking

      • Is the Labour group going to fight this if so how and commit to reversing any closures should they win in the next KCC?

  12. We will be wallowing in waste.

    This facility is needed.

    With suggestions like this it becomes scary to live in Thanet. Whatever next? Life is becoming uncivilised. So much for big business being the answer.

    KCC makes decisions from a spreadsheet. They do not know us or care about us.

  13. They prefer to waste money building a station nobody wants or needs for £50 million , then actually supplying services that people wanr. It is not surprising that the throughput has gone down over the last 3 years, from the start of covid they made any of the recycling sites difficult to use, and they are not much better now.

  14. To anyone reading this comment with knowledge of the local area around Richborough HWRC – I’m curious, has any planning application been granted or applied for near the site of the tip?
    At Faversham there has been 370 houses granted planning permission – the site borders the dump. Just wondering…

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