A PARISH councillor fears proposals to close a household waste site will lead to an increase in fly-tipping in surrounding communities.
Thornley Station household recycling centre, in Shotton Colliery, is one of six sites earmarked for closure by Durham County Council.
The authority says it needs to provide fairer access across the county and make savings after Government cuts.
But local councillor Ted Hall believes closing the site would see a rise in people dumping their rubbish in nearby roads and fields and described the idea as “lunacy”.
Coun Hall, who sits on Shotton Parish and Peterlee Town councils, said: “It’s a very well-used depot and there is a constant stream of traffic.
“If it is closed, people will revert back to fly-tipping. It’s lunacy.
“It is going to end up in lay-bys, lanes, farmers’ fields, anywhere, because the rubbish men can’t take it all away.
“It is a false economy because it will cost the council more to clean it up.”
Coun Hall said thousands of pounds spent improving the site and access road would be wasted.
Visitors are being urged to sign a petition to save the depot.
Maurice Featonby, who uses the site, said: “It’s ridiculous. It’s been brilliant since it was improved.
“Are we expected to trail all the way to Horden? We are the ones that pay for it.”
The council is holding a public consultation on plans to reduce the number of household recycling centres from 15 to nine.
The exercise runs until Friday, January 20.
Alan Patrickson, waste programme director at Durham County Council, said: “We are currently consulting with residents on possible changes to our household waste recycling centres, including how many we provide and where they are located.
“This is being done due to the need to provide fairer access to these sites across the county and in response to the need to make savings following significant reductions in Government funding.
“Residents in some areas currently have easy access to a number of sites within a few miles of each other, while other areas have fewer sites within easy reach.
“The consultation is intended to assess the impact of proposed changes on residents in different parts of the county.
“We would urge residents to take this opportunity to tell us their views.”
For more information, visit the council’s website www.durham.gov.uk