A rubbish collection service in Deeside that’s absence has resulted in 90-mile round trips to offload household waste could potentially make a return, after councillors agreed to look into the implications of reinstating it.
At the start of lockdown, Aberdeenshire Council suspended the usual Saturday lorry which served Ballater, Crathie, Braemar and the surrounding areas.
It had been based in Ballater, and allowed residents to travel to the village to drop off larger items, such as carpets or mattresses.
More than 470 people signed a petition asking for it to be reinstated, but last month the council confirmed it would “remain suspended until further notice”.
Without the collection scheme, residents have been faced with very long drives to offload their rubbish at the closest location, the Banchory household waste recycling centre.
During yesterday’s Marr area committee, councillors discussed the petition, and agreed to request a report from officers detailing the full ramifications of bringing the service back to the community.
At the meeting, Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Peter Argyle put forward a motion that was agreed, asking officers to detail two ways forward.
He said: “One would be to reintroduce the service for a very limited period, say about a month, as some of the feedback from the community has been along those lines, then people could get rid of all the stuff they accumulated during the lockdown.
“The other option would be to come back with details on what it would cost and the implications of restoring it full-time.”
He added: “Clearly there are issues in providing the lorry up to Ballater.
“It’s extremely expensive, and the waste that’s collected does need to go to landfill because it is mixed, and not separated.
“So it’s a very expensive, and not very environmentally-friendly option.
“I think the issue from the point of view from constituents is that having had the service suspended during lockdown, the first they knew about any arrangements was when the service was withdrawn.
“This has caused some issues and I do think a report would be helpful.
“It is an important local issue.
“Both Ballater and Braemar are a very far distance from the main centres of population, infrastructure and service provision, and we do need to take into account their needs and requirements on this.”
Fears had previously been raised by the Ballater and Crathie Community Council that without the Saturday lorry, fly-tipping could increase in the region, as residents may be more tempted to simply throw their waste away in a layby than make the lengthy journey to Banchory.
Mr Argyle added: “The one element we do need to take into account is the community was not involved in the decision at all, or consulted, or anything like that, which is understandable, but I do think it’s something we will need to take into account when the paper comes.
“We need to get this report as soon as, because a decision needs to be made as quickly as possible.”