PLANS by Lancashire County Council to cut opening times at waste recycling centres ‘will open a green light’ for fly-tippers.

County Hall chiefs are set to approve plans at their cabinet meeting on Thursday for the centres at Haslingden, Barnoldswick, Clitheroe to be among six in the county which will reduce opening from seven to five days.

Also, the opening hours will be cut to 9am to 5pm.

Meanwhile Azhar Ali, leader of the opposition at county hall, has hit out at the plan.

He said: “We have some areas of outstanding beauty in East Lancashire such as the Forest of Bowland and also in West Craven. We already have waste being dumped there but this will give the green light to fly-tipping in these areas as people won’t be able to go to these centres.

“If you are working in an office 9-5 during the week then you won’t be able to go to the centres.

“There needs to be more feasibility for people to take their waste and flexibility for everyone.”

The consultation took place between January and March and more than 1,200 responses were received.

Half said that the centres' days should not be cut, with 31 per cent agreeing with the proposal.

In the cabinet documents, it is claimed that ‘the majority of householders do not visit a recycling centre on a frequent basis’.

Also county hall chiefs say that ‘there is no evidence that links fly tipping to recycling centres or that fly-tipping increases when recycling centres are closed’.

It adds: "Most fly-tipping is carried out by unscrupulous businesses who do not want to pay for their waste to be disposed of properly.”

Steve Scott, head of waste management, said: “The proposal to move to 9am to 5pm opening is based on surveys showing that visitor numbers are relatively low from outside these times.

“Where we have recommended that six of the quieter sites open five days a week, these will still be open at weekends, and all the recycling centres will always be open on Bank Holidays, even if they would normally be closed on a Monday."

Cllr Ali said: “They are living in cloudcuckooland if they think that there is no link between closing early and fly-tipping. They'd already decided what they were going to.”