A SENIOR Basingstoke councillor has hit out at the county council's decision to stop 5,000 residents in north Hampshire from using their closest household waste recycling centre for free.

Cllr Hayley Eachus, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's cabinet member for the environment and enforcement, has urged Hampshire County Council to rethink the decision to scrap a £175,000 per year payment to West Berkshire Council.

The payment allowed around 5,000 households in the north Hampshire region to use Newbury's Newtown Road tip, as it was closer to them than their closest HCC-run tip in Andover or Basingstoke.

The decision means that from the start of next month, a large section of the borough resident's will be forced with a choice: travel the shorter distance to Newbury and pay for the privilege of disposing waste, or take a longer journey to do so for free.

Now, Cllr Eachus has spoken out, saying the decision sparks concerns over the extra carbon emissions this could cause.

Cllr Eachus said: "It is extremely disappointing that we could find ourselves taking a backwards step towards achieving our climate emergency targets, not only in Basingstoke and Deane but as a county and country.

“This agreement between West Berkshire and Hampshire County Council demonstrated a real common sense approach for our residents in the north of the borough, providing them with access to a recycling centre close to where they live rather than up to a 40 mile drive.

"Removing this funding and ending this agreement puts more pressure on the already busy county council household recycling centre in Basingstoke and means more unnecessary long journeys will have to be taken.

“I am urging the two authorities to talk again and talk with us to find a solution. While I fully understand every penny of council tax payers’ money needs to be carefully considered, we have all committed to reducing our climate emissions and this has be a key factor in any decision made by all authorities.”

However, at Thursday's decision meeting, he said that the county council did everything they could to ensure that this still went ahead.

The borough council has strongly objected to the proposed cut in funding since it was put forward and has appealed to both authorities to find a solution that meets the needs of residents close to the border and doesn’t impact on the environment.

Last September the borough council declared a Climate Emergency, along with many local authorities across the country, including the county council.

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC's executive member for the environment, transport and the economy, said that the reason for scrapping the payment was that it was unfair for all households in other parts of the county to be subsidising the measures.

He said: "We need to carefully consider if it is the right thing to do to continue to subsidise a service for residents in one part of the county at the expense of everyone else."