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Row over cost of Somerset fly-tipping
5:00pm Saturday 5th January 2013 in News
A ROW has broken out over the true cost of dealing with fly-tipping in Somerset since opening hours at recycling centres were cut.
Somerset County Council announced last year that to balance its books, some household waste recycling centres would shut on certain days, and there would be charges for recycling certain types of waste.
But Tessa Munt, MP for Burnham and Highbridge, says the changes have been “catastrophic” and speaking in the House of Commons has called for a Parliamentary debate on the subject.
She said: “In 2011 the leadership of Somerset County Council announced that Somerset would be the first county to introduce partial closures and charging for the use of recycling facilities.
“The public expressed their concern that this would lead to increased fly-tipping and the resulting costs – £303,615 this year – have to be picked up by the taxpayer through the district councils.”
The MP said latest Government figures showed a 65% increase in fly-tipping in Somerset from 2011 to 2012, compared to a national decline of 9%.
However Somerset Waste Partner-ship said the £303,615 figure was an estimate by Defra based on the average cost paid by councils across England to clear up fly-tipping.
An SWP spokesman said: “Somer-set’s councils have been able to do the same job for significantly less.
“Based on actual average costs supplied by our five districts, SWP estimates an annual bill of £150,000 for fly-tipping in the year up to the end of last March.
“£48,000 of that was reimbursed by SCC to district councils to cover the additional costs in that year when fly-tipping rose, as we predicted, after charges and changes at recycling sites to save £1.9 million a year.”
Derek Yeomans, chairman of the Somerset Waste Board, said: “With fly-tipping levels across the county falling in 2012/13, as we predicted, we expect the bill to be lower for the current year, including an aggregate of around £38,000 paid by SCC to district councils to meet their reducing overall costs.”