PLANS to allow pedestrians and cyclists to access Fife's recycling centres look set to be binned due to cost and safety concerns.

Councillors had argued it would make it easier for locals to get rid of their waste and the council had looked into the possibility at sites in Dalgety Bay, Lochgelly and Kirkcaldy.

But at Thursday's cabinet committee a report on the issue was pulled at the last minute and access to all 11 of the local authority's recycling centres will remain vehicle-only.

Council leader David Ross said that if they decided to proceed it would require "significant investment" and suggested the issue becomes part of the budget discussions instead.

Cllr David Barratt, who represents Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, is in favour and queried why the original estimate to facilitate access for walkers and cyclists had shot up from £30,000 to £540,000.

Dunfermline Press: Access to Fife's recycling centres will remain vehicle-only for now.Access to Fife's recycling centres will remain vehicle-only for now. (Image: Cllr Dave Dempsey)

He said that most of the money appeared to be for "stewarding pedestrians in and out of the site" and added: "I think the public will see that and think it's nonsense."

His SNP colleague and former environment spokesperson, Cllr Ross Vettraino, had previously rubbished the idea and questioned how many people would walk or cycle to the tip to get rid of their waste.

And a ban will remain in place for now as Fife Resource Solutions - who run the centres for the council - believe there are too many "public safety" risks.

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The report to the committee, still available to view, said that opening up access would "inevitably" introduce new situations that would increase the likelihood of an accident. 

This could include pedestrians ignoring walkways, barriers and crossing points, children and pushchairs being brought onto site with the risk of loss of control near to moving vehicles, and commercial waste carriers "parking nearby and walking in to dispose of waste to avoid incurring charges".

A joint report by FRS and the council said reviews were carried out and confirmed that recycling centres are industrial sites, designed for vehicle access only and none have the space to effectively separate pedestrians and vehicles.

It said the installation of walkways with guard rails and crossing points would "significantly impact traffic routes and access to recycling containers" and added that the guidance states that pedestrians must report to site offices and then be "stewarded around the site to ensure pedestrian routes are followed and their movement is safely managed".

The report concluded: "If the recycling centres of Fife did meet the space and barrier requirements of the safety guidance, they would still need to be appropriately resourced to provide the stewarding function.

"Across 11 centres with varied shift patterns, it is estimated that 18 additional staff would be required to marshal pedestrians and cyclists at a cost of £540,000 annually."