THE introduction of a permit scheme at Monmouthshire County Council's four recycling centres will cost £40,000, the local authority has revealed, but day closures at the same sites will save the council an estimated £72,000 each year.

The local authority plans to introduce both schemes on June 1.

As reported last week in the Argus, Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) will close its four Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) – at Five Lanes, Mitchel Troy, Usk, and Llanfoist Fawr – for at least 24 hours each week.

The closures will boost MCC coffers by £72,000 per annum, a saving achieved by reorganising working patterns and reducing the number of agency staff at the sites.

Monmouthshire's HWRCs are managed by Viridor, which employs a number of agency staff.

Speaking to the Free Press this week, a spokesperson for MCC said the day closures would not affect the working hours or salaries of the sites' permanent staff, but may result in changes to working rotas, with some staff members having to work different days from normal.

The Argus asked MCC if it was worried the closures may lead to an increase in the crime of fly-tipping – a problem lamented frequently by anti-litter volunteers across the county.

In response, the MCC spokesperson said: "There is always the possibility of an increase in fly -tipping whenever a change in service occurs.

"Incidents are investigated and where there is sufficient evidence the perpetrator is prosecuted.

"The council publicises residents’ responsibilities to ensure that they dispose of waste properly and if they entrust the job to another person to ensure the contractor is a registered carrier with Natural Resources Wales.

"We work closely with Keep Wales Tidy and Fly-tipping Action Wales to share information and good practice to help reduce fly-tipping. In addition to our own staff dealing with fly-tipping, we support Keep Wales Tidy and other voluntary groups to tackle fly-tipping on the ground."

Visitors to Monmouthshire's HWRCs will also, from June 1, be required to display a proof-of-residence permit on the dashboard of their vehicle.

This is to prevent an increase in non-Monmouthshire residents travelling into the county and using its HWRCs, MCC said when the plans were announced last week.

The permits are free and will be sent out to residents over the coming weeks. One permit will be issued to each household and are transferable between vehicles.

The MCC spokesperson said the estimated £40,000 cost of implementing the scheme included the cost of the permits themselves and "additional meet-and-greet costs" at the authority's HWRCs.

"Monmouthshire County Council are implementing this due to the large numbers of out of county residents using the sites," the spokesperson added. "This is not a unique situation – many other local authorities run similar successful schemes where either a permit or other proof of residency is required to gain access to their HWRCs."