Jedburgh will remain the largest town in the Borders without a community recycling centre for the foreseeable future because Scottish Borders Council cannot afford the annual £150,000 required to run such a facility.
That was the stark message from Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson, the council’s executive member for environmental services, at last week’s full council meeting at Newtown.
He had been asked by Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott how he proposed to address the town’s dubious distinction of being the only major settlement in the region without a recycling centre.
Mr Scott cited the recent announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the Scottish Government, in the wake of EU referendum uncertainty, would make an additional £100m available this financial year to speed up the delivery of health and other infrastructure projects.
“Would the executive member consider applying for this money for the Jedburgh project?” asked Mr Scott.
Mr Paterson said the council had already invested more than £2m over the last two years on upgrading its network of community recycling centres and developing a new facility at Kelso.
“The development of a similar facility at Jedburgh would require significant capital investment of around £600,000 and ongoing annual revenue support of around £150,000 at a time where there is considerable pressure on the council’s budget,” he stated.
“While I accept Jedburgh is now the largest town in the region without its own facility, it is important to consider this request in relation to existing service provision provided across the Borders as a whole.
“Councils across the UK are in the process of reducing costs associated with their waste services, and in many cases, this has involved reducing the number of community recycling centres and their hours of operation.
“We are currently developing a waste management plan which will include a review of community recycling centres with the focus on optimising the current service while delivering efficiency savings.
“The availability of capital funds from the Scottish Government may help reduce pressure on our already stretched capital budget but, even if the capital funding was available, it would not resolve the ongoing year-on-year running costs of such a facility.
“Given the current financial situation, it is hard to see a business case for the development of a new facility at Jedburgh in the foreseeable future.”