COUNTY Hall insists it has no plans to close the recycling centre in Witham, ahead of an upcoming review.

Details about the review or a possible consultation have yet to be confirmed, but Witham Northern county councillor James Abbott has raised fears over the future of the site in the town.

He says the review could well lead to the recycling centre, on the Freebourne Industrial Estate, being closed for good.

But Essex County Council insists this is not the case and says any proposed changes to waste services put forward after the review will be subject to a public consultation.

A County Hall spokesman said: “There are no plans to close the Witham recycling centre, or any of the other 20 facilities provided by Essex County Council.

“The Environment Bill is expected to receive royal assent this year. It is therefore an appropriate time to review Essex waste infrastructure and associated activities.

“Once this review has taken place, if any changes to service provision are recommended, those recommendations will be subject to the appropriate level of consultation before any decision is taken.”

The statement comes after Mr Abbott claimed he was unable to get any reassurances over Witham Recycling Centre’s long-term future.

He said: “We’ve been told there will be a review of all recycling centres and I haven’t been given any assurances it won’t close at some point.

“I have been told there are no current plans to close it, but the review will need to run its course. That doesn’t exactly sound promising.

“What really concerns me is Witham has always been described as a small site with problems.

“Several years ago they changed the rules at the centre which meant people couldn’t take things like soil, hardcore and DIY items down there.

“There have also been restrictions on the types of vehicles which can go in and out to address these issues.

“But I think it all works really well down there and is actually well used by residents.”

Mr Abbott fears closing the centre would lead to an increase in rubbish being illegally dumped not just around Witham, but in quieter, rural villages.

He added: “It would be a disaster if it was closed.

“It would mean thousands of people taking their rubbish to Colchester, Braintree or Chelmsford, which is more traffic on the roads. It’s also going to mean those places are even busier.

“It would also probably lead to an increase in flytipping, which we already have a big problem with in the district.”