Results of a survey on the controversial proposed booking system at the county's recycling centres have been published and submitted to Essex County Council.

The proposals would require people to book in advance before visiting recycling centres - including in Saffron Walden.

Cllr Paul Gadd, of Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), said: "I submitted the results of our survey, and all of our residents’ comments, to the ECC cabinet member for waste, Cllr Buckley, and again asked him to stop his proposal. 2,753 residents responded to the R4U survey, almost all from within Uttlesford.

"Over 99 per cent were opposed to the booking system, with only 26 people in favour. The full results of the survey are on the R4U website at

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Paul Gadd, Residents for UttlesfordCllr Paul Gadd, Residents for Uttlesford (Image: R4U)

"I hope that ECC will remember that they are supposed to work for their residents, not make their lives more difficult, and that Cllr Buckley will reverse his decision in light of the overwhelming opposition to the new plans.

"Fellow R4U county councillor Martin Foley and I will continue to press for the proposed booking system to be abandoned."

The booking system will be trialled from Monday, March 13 - and has already been trialled for all vehicles using Raleigh Recycling Centre.

Cllr Gadd continued: "Most residents completing the survey use the Saffron Walden recycling centre, with Braintree the next most used by Uttlesford residents, and opposition to the new proposals was the same at both centres.


"The main concerns were that the new system would lead to an increase in illegal fly tipping, that there were no queues today and no congestion, that a booking system was unnecessary, that the changes would make the service worse, harder to use and more inconvenient and that it was the first step in a charging system."

Cllr Malcolm Buckley, cabinet member for waste reduction and recycling at Essex County Council, explained the reason behind the proposals.

He said: "We are implementing this trial to see if doing things differently can ease peak congestion within the recycling centre network, and prevent the service being accessed by those not entitled to use it.

"We are not reducing recycling or restricting access. Recycling rates in Essex continue to remain higher than the national average and the trial is not looking to reduce the number of vehicles using our centres.

"The trial will see if small operational changes can enable us to ensure residents can access sites across the county, as they always have, but do so without unnecessary queueing.

"We do not expect fly-tipping to increase as a direct result of the booking system being introduced.

"Last year, DEFRA carried out research on the matter, and there has not been any evidence to suggest introducing bookings at recycling centres leads to an increase in fly-tipping.

"There is never any justification for fly-tipping, it is a criminal offence that can result in prosecution.

"We’d like to think that the majority of Essex residents wouldn’t turn to criminal activities just because they have to book a slot to visit their recycling centre."