Linlithgow tip service row

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West Lothian Council has come under fire over an proposal to reduce the opening hours of Linlithgow’s Braehead Road recycling facility.

We were contacted by a reader alerting us to this possibility, which follows hot on the heels of their defeat in an attempt to impose £25 charges to empty the brown garden waste bins. This means a shortfall in income of some half a million pounds.

Now, apparently, a new topic is on the cards and is set to be discussed at council on November 13, and then the full council on November 20.

We are reliably informed that the council wants to reduce the opening hours of the recycling centre to 20 hours per week. The proposal is that the site only opens on a Tuesday and a Thursday from 10am to 2pm, then again on Saturday and Sundays between 10am to 4pm.

Our insider’s concerns are that restricted hours will lead to traffic chaos and there will be wholesale flytipping across the Burgh.

Our source said: “The council say there are no compulsory redundancies, so what is to happen to staff who are employed on 36 hour contracts, and why employ a new contract manager at a salary of between £40-50k? It hardly merits such a salary if reduced hours are imposed.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We are currently looking at options to help bridge an estimated budget gap of £65 million over the next five years. The money we receive from the Scottish Government is not rising enough to cover the increasing costs of delivering essential services for local residents.

“Charging for brown bins was one of a number of options considered. Councillors voted not to introduce this and to consider options to co-mingle garden and food waste instead, which is currently being progressed. No income target was set for brown bin charging.

“The proposed savings from recycling centres are not instead of charging for brown bins, and are a separate saving measure under consideration. If approved, any staff affected would be redeployed in line with council policy.

“We have had a long standing vacancy for a manager role in waste services due to an ongoing restructure. This role has now been formalised and filled, with the post holder responsible for ensuring best value for the council on over £6m of waste contracts.”