Closure-threatened tips failing to hit green goals, says county council

Richborough waste centre (image google maps)

By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay

Closure-threatened rubbish tips are failing key recycling and composting targets, according to new Kent County Council (KCC) figures.

Fewer gardeners are bringing green waste to its Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) because of prolonged dry spells, says KCC. KCC failed to hit its own 50% target by 8%.

The figure was also affected by wood no longer being disposed of at HWRCs and this led to municipal waste – collected by local authorities – also failing the 50% goal by 8%.

The statistics have emerged as KCC is considering shutting four of its 19 recycling centres to shave more than £1m from its waste budget.

A KCC report says: “Recycling and composting is being negatively affected by the loss of wood recycling at HWRCs which, due to Environmental Regulation, must now be processed as waste to energy.

“There have also been lower volumes of organic waste than expected this year, following dry summer weather, with 15% less garden waste collected between May and August 2022 compared to 2021.”

HWRCs at Maidstone, Faversham, Dartford and Richborough are under threat of closure.

Faversham Liberal Democrat county member Cllr Antony Hook, who is strongly opposed to the closures, told LDRS: “They’re not going to hit recycling and composting targets if they shut these facilities.

“What will happen is that people might be tempted to fly-tip or send even more cars onto the roads and all the pollution that would go with it.

“This is a massive issue in Faversham and all the other communities under threat.”

The percentage of HWRC waste recycled/composted and wood converted to energy at biomass facilities was 5% shy of its 70% target.

A ‘mystery shopper’ assessment of customer satisfaction fell short of the 97% target by a single point.

KCC papers state: “This assessment creates insight to appraise the levels of customer service offered by contractors.

“Latest performance is one percentage point below target. There have been lower than expected scores in the ‘Entering The Facility’ and ‘Facility Standards’ sections.

“The two key areas for focus and improvement are ensuring there is a consistent ‘meet and greet’ operative at the entrance to sites and making sure sites are clean and well maintained.”

Greenhouse gas emissions from the KCC estate (excluding schools) were successfully below the set figure.

Targets set for municipal waste converted to energy and rubbish diverted from landfill sites, were both hit.

Kent County Council needs to save £55 million on its budget and has put forward proposals for waste site closures and/or reduction in hours across the county.

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

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

The three options:

  • 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.

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

A petition launched to save the Richborough centre can be found here


  1. Has KCC costed in the extra resources it will need to clear up the inevitable increase in fly tipping? I doubt it. It is also disingenuous to use the downturn in green waste because of warmer weather, which is cyclical. It is a short term effect and cannot be used by any logically thinking Finance Director to determine a long term budget

  2. I tried to dispose of my green waste at Margate Dump but was told I couldn’t as I was in a van, my van is the only vehicle I have so took it all back home and burnt it. Thats what most people are doing now. Also that is why fly tipping is on the up, if you don’t make it easy to get rid of rubbish people get annoyed & leave it in the streets.

  3. KCC offers us three options so that we can be “consulted”.
    But all three include the closure of Richborough, which many of us use as it is convenient for large parts of Thanet.
    Surely, a proper “consultation” would give us a genuine range of options including the option of retaining Richborough. These “options” are the usual fudge ,designed to get the result that KCC wants.
    If Richborough, apparently, narrowly fails to achieve certain recycling targets, how will it achieve them if it is closed!?
    If all these sites are closed , the county will be even LESS likely to reach recycling targets!

  4. “There have been lower than expected scores in the ‘Entering The Facility’ and ‘Facility Standards’ sections”

    Well, perhaps they might score something above zero if they allow pedestrians and cyclists to access the facility.

    Is this a public service or a business?

  5. I go to Margate tip, so am not personally affected. But these are feeble Tory excuses: the ‘dry spell’ by definition is temporary, there will be a ‘wet spell’, producing more green waste. They should compost wood, less than 1″ in the Green Waste, more than in Wood waste, otherwise householders will just burn it, vastly releasing carbon dioxide. Margate is working well, but there needs to be 2 tips for Thanet

    • Dick, I’m sure you’ll be personally affected. Once the Richborough site is closed you’ll be sharing the Margate facility with all the disgruntled former users from South Thanet and Margate will become the new bottleneck.

      • Not under the booking system ,as only ,a certain amount of cars ,are allowed a day,just means you might not get in on the day you want ,not right ,people Keeping voting tory,we end up with only one recycling centre for the whole kent, a bit extreme maybe, that the Tories for you

  6. Could not the reason be in that green garden waste is falling at the refuse centres is because householders are putting this in the household rubbish. Booking an appointment, cost of fuel and rising energy + food costs all add up to an additional expense. If TDC reduced the annual charge for garden waste collection from the home this would help improve this section of the recycling process instead TDC increased the charge thus discouraging people to recycle. TDC are like KCC in that if we increase the charge less people will use so we can discontinue this service. Next will be refuse and recycling collections once per month only.

  7. These figures are at odds with the recycling figures posted on the exit road from the Margate tip which I think are now over 90%. Perhaps they only relate to green waste, not this overall figure?

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