Deeside residents’ pleas for the return of a rubbish collection service fell on deaf ears yesterday as councillors ruled it was not worth the annual £55,000 cost.
The Saturday lorry, which serves Ballater, Crathie, Braemar and the surrounding areas, had been operating for a number of years before it was suspended at the start of lockdown.
The service, based in Ballater, allowed residents to drop off larger items such as carpets and mattresses.
Since its suspension in March, people have been faced with 90-mile round trips to offload their bulky waste in Banchory. There have also been concerns that its absence would lead to a surge in fly-tipping.
After a petition was backed by more than 470 people, Aberdeenshire Council reintroduced the lorry for four weeks to allow residents to dispose of items accumulated over the months in lockdown.
During yesterday’s Marr area committee meeting, it emerged that it did not experience the sort of usage during that period that would justify its full-time return.
A report stated that only half of the available slots were used in the four-week period, with most of the waste being recyclable or garden waste, and that it was no longer a “sustainable” service.
Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Peter Argyle said he had environmental and financial concerns.
He said: “I think what’s more interesting is the sort of materials that have been brought for disposal.
“To be absolutely realistic and pragmatic, we come back to the problem with the mixed nature of the waste that goes into landfill and how that isn’t environmentally sustainable.
“Also, the annual cost of this service is significant and there are fundamental problems with maintaining it as a long-term service.
“Taking all of that into account, I do think the decision to suspend and to keep the service suspended is the appropriate one.”
Other council members agreed that the annual cost of £55,000 to run the lorry to Ballater is not viable for the number of people actually using it.
Some of the alternative options, which were discussed during the meeting, included the free-of-charge supply of more blue bins to households to encourage more recycling, as well as composting schemes for community gardens.
Aberdeenshire Council is expected to have further consultations before a final decision is made.