AN MP has criticised Cumbria County Council for cutting back hours at its recycling centres and putting local jobs at risk.
As revealed by The Westmorland Gazette last month, South Lakeland MP Tim Farron said 25 jobs are facing the axe at household waste recycling centres around the county.
It follows Cumbria Waste Management (CWM), which is owned by the council, making a decision to reduce its operating hours.
Jobs could be lost at 14 different sites in the county including Canal Head in Kendal, which will have its opening hours reduced by 37 per cent, the HWRC at Ambleside which will be down 74 per cent on its current hours and Grange-over-Sands which will lose 42 per cent of its hours.
Mr Farron also warned there may be a drop in recycling and an increase in fly-tipping, which could harm the local environment.
He has now tabled a motion in parliament calling on CWM to rethink its decision.
Mr Farron said: “The effects of this decision on our local communities will be severe, above all in terms of the 25 waste management workers who stand to lose their jobs.”
He continued: “If they simply press ahead I fear we will not only see 25 people out of work through no fault of their own but an increase in fly-tipping ruining our countryside.
“Whatever the County Council saved from these cuts, it will end up losing more because they will incur more landfill taxes as their recycling levels are bound to fall.”
Cumbria County Council - run by a Conservative-Labour coalition since 2009, had originally proposed closing the six least used waste recycling sites around the county.
However, after a public consultation it decided a better measure would be to adjust operating hours.
The largest reduction in opening times will be borne by Ambleside recycling centre, which will see the number of operating days cut from seven to two – with opening hours slashed from 70 to 18 a week in summer and 14 in winter.
Ulverston’s opening will reduce from seven days to four with hours falling from 70 to 36 in summer and to 28 in winter, while opening at Grange-over-Sands will fall from three to two days and hours from 24 to 14.
In Eden, Kirkby Stephen recycling centre’s opening times will be cut from four days to two and its hours will go down down from 40 to 16 in summer and just 14 in winter.
Under the proposals, waste recycling opening at Canal Head, Kendal, would be cut from seven days to five days a week, with total opening hours reduced from 56 to 35.
The county council has said the Cumbrian public "strongly opposed closures," so the reduced hours option was deemed to be a "preferable solution" at a time when savings have to be made.