Members of West Lothian Council's Environment and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel are set to consider changing opening hours at West Lothian's five recycling centres to deliver agreed budget savings at their meeting on 28 March 2023.
West Lothian Council has a budget gap of £39.4 million over the next five years, and reducing opening hours at recycling centres will deliver savings of £336,000 towards this and ensure all five centres can remain open.
Options under consideration include returning to a pattern of part-time opening hours, similar to the model introduced in 2019, or maximising daily opening hours which would see the centres with less visitor numbers at Broxburn and Linlithgow open fewer days, but for longer hours.
A booking system is also planned for all vehicles using recycling centres to reduce queues and keep traffic flowing at the centres. This will also help address issues around commercial businesses and residents from other council areas outwith West Lothian using the centres to dispose of their waste, delivering savings of £70,000 per year.
Head of Operational Services Jim Jack said: "Financial savings are required across the council as the funding we receive is not increasing as much as the increasing cost of delivering essential services.
"The options put forward for consideration represent what we believe are the best ways to deliver the required savings and maintain services in all five centres, at the busy weekend period in particular.
"The introduction of a booking system has several benefits for customers who want guaranteed access, with less queues to enable a quick turnaround on their visit.
"The majority of our neighbouring councils already have booking systems in place, or ask residents to bring along identification, to prevent those from out with their council area using the facilities."
He added: "The previous changes to opening hours in 2019 did not lead to a significant rise in fly-tipping, so we would not expect any of these options to lead to any major increases.
"The vast majority of fly tipping in West Lothian, around 80%, is commercial in nature, and these changes will only impact on local residents and the days/times they can use our facilities.
"All businesses and traders have a legal duty to dispose of their waste through a registered carrier.
We appreciate that commercial costs for waste and recycling have increased, but there is never an excuse for fly-tipping.
"We would also encourage West Lothian residents to play their part in ensuring their waste does not end up being dumped. If you are getting work carried out on your behalf that generates waste, ask the business to show you their waste carrier's license and ask for reassurances to ensure it is being disposed of responsibly."