To brief the re3 Joint Waste Disposal Board on access options for the re3 recycling centres.
The Board received a report briefing them on access options for the re3 recycling centres.
The report was broadly similar to the one received by the Board at its meeting in June 2021. The report covered the aims and benefits of the booking system.
It was highlighted that a survey was currently being conducted with neighbouring business in the Longshot Lane Industrial Estate regarding the booking system and the impact it has had on their access. The survey was still ongoing, but based on some feedback already received, the site was now allowing for residents to queue onsite at the recycling centre prior to the site opening at 8am. This was in order to remove cars from the road, and help access to the site.
The booking system was upgraded on the 18 August 2021. The upgrade included a postcode look up function which was working really well and would allow for good patronage data to be provided to the Board. There was only currently two weeks of data, but based on this data at Longshot Lane 61% of bookings were Bracknell residents, 38% were Wokingham residents and a handful of bookings were Reading residents. At Smallmead 57% of bookings were by Reading residents, 43% by Wokingham residents and a small number of bookings by Bracknell residents. This data would be monitored and shared when appropriate.
At the last meeting of the Board, Members asked for a number of options to be trialled.
The options were:
Option 1 – Removal of the booking system
This option was not trialled, as the contractor had plenty of experience of using the sites without a booking system.
Option 2 - Retention of the booking system, with current profiling and additional slots
As part of a trial, Officers, in consultation with the Contractor sought to progressively increase bookable slots to reach an optimised but practically operable level. Officers profiled increases of between 5% and 20%, based on our existing principles and previous booking levels, and trialled progressive increases at both Recycling Centres across June, July and August. During the peak of the trial, there were 13,134 slots available across both sites which 74% of the visitor numbers received back in 2019. This number did developer a slight queue at points.
Option 3 - Retention of the booking system, with weekday profiling and additional weekend slots
Under Option 3, the re3 Partnership could retain booking-slot profiling during the working week (Monday to Friday) similar to the numbers currently available, in order to maintain easy access for other service users and then at the weekend, from 1pm on Saturday and throughout Sunday, a larger number of bookable visits would be scheduled. Two weekend trials were held over the summer. Feedback from the first weekend trial was used to assist how the second weekend trial would be operated. During the trial Longshot Lane was not fully booked, but Smallmead was, with 87% of residents happy with the length of time spent queueing. It was noted that higher levels of booking were kept in during the Monday to Friday.
It was recommended that a variant option between option 2 and option 3 be agreed by the Board, which would see a slightly increased number of bookings between Monday and Friday and slightly increased bookings again on the Saturday and Sunday, which would lead to 14,000 visitors across both of the sites. This would be kept under review, with the no show rate monitored, as well as the length of time residents were spending onsite to make sure that level of booking remained appropriate but based on the trials so far, there was demand for the bookings and the queues could be managed successfully.
Arising from the Member’s comments and questions, the following points were made:
· The variation could be adjusted if numbers changed.
· It would have been helpful to have a recommendation that was the variant option.
· The Board should agree and communicate to residents that was now how the recycling centres worked, as Members were still getting questions to when the system would be removed.
· Readings Green Waste had been paused for a short period and there had been feedback to Members that there had been queuing due to the green waste recycling at Smallmead. Officers were not aware of any long queues or significant issues due to the green waste.
· There had been some issues with queuing on the first weekend trial, but this had fed into the second trial weekend and adjustments made accordingly.
· Numbers had been increased due to the pause in the Green Waste collection.
· Emails had been sent to residents whether they did or didn’t use their booking slot. There seemed to be a higher number of no shows at Smallmead then at Longshot Lane. Data into people making multiple bookings had not been looked at but this could be reviewed. There were currently a large of number of available slots, with next day booking availability.
· Slots could currently be booked for the afternoon on the same say, which was a very different scenario to a few months ago.
· Patronage numbers could be reviewed and brought back to future meetings, to see the variants changed over the year.
The Chair requested that booking system be continued, and that officers bring it back to the next meeting for review if required.
It was agreed that a variant option on options 2 and 3 was a sensible proposal and gave the operators of the site and booking system the ability to amend the system accordingly and as appropriate.
RESOLVED that Members endorse the continuation of the booking system and that a variant on options 2 and 3 for access to the re3 recycling centres, as presented at the meeting and detailed from 5.10 within the report be approved.