THE recycling centre at Crewkerne has been identified for potential closure as part of Somerset County Council’s far-reaching cost-cutting measures.

Councillors heard last week that the recycling centre in Crewkerne, Dulverton in West Somerset, Coleford in Mendip and Middlezoy in Sedgemoor will close subject to local consultation.

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages the contract for 18 recycling centres on behalf of the council, had been asked to identify up to eight sites to close. It is estimated that closing the initial four centres could save almost £314,000 a year.

Long-term contracts for recycling and waste, and the commitment of all six councils in Somerset to offer enhanced Sort It Plus kerbside collections to all suitable households in the county by the end of 2011, left recycling centres as almost the only area for savings within the timetable.

There will be changes to services at all sites, including reduced hours and charges for depositing certain types of waste, such as soil, rubble and tyres.

Waste bosses have told councillors that there will be a risk that the closures will lead to more fly-tipping and recyclable materials being put in refuse bins and sent to landfill at a cost of £68 a tonne.

SWP managing director Steve Read said: “We regret being asked to consider closing recycling centres as this would be in conflict with our aim of reducing waste going to landfill and raising recycling rates but we are all aware of the financial situation.”

If the Crewkerne centre does close it is expected to cease operations before April next year.