Anger as green waste is set for incin­er­a­tor

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sarah Mar­shall smar­shall@thek­m­

CALLS have been made for the man in charge of the bor­ough’s rub­bish and re­cy­cling to re­sign in a row over the scrap­ping of the green waste col­lec­tion.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive de­cided to stop col­lect­ing gar­den waste sep­a­rately from rub­bish in a cost-cut­ting move.

In­stead of com­post­ing it, the coun­cil will send green waste col­lected from homes in Ash­ford and Ten­ter­den for in­cin­er­a­tion at Alling­ton near Maid­stone.

The de­ci­sion prompted Richard Bo­den, who runs WyeCy­cle which col­lects re­cy­cling in Wye and Brook, to say he has lost faith in Cllr Neil Bell (Con), the port­fo­lio holder for waste man­age­ment.

Set fire

Mr Bo­den said: “I’ve been co-or­di­nat­ing WyeCy­cle for 20 years now and I can’t think of any de­ci­sion the bor­ough coun­cil has made in all that time that’s made me so an­gry be­cause of its com­plete lack of en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic ra­tio­nale.

“They say they will col­lect wet bags of gar­den waste and that’s go­ing to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity.

“I would love Cllr Bell to ex­plain how it is of en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit to take gar­den waste on a 50-mile round trip and set fire to it.”

In re­sponse, Cllr Bell de­fended the de­ci­sion: “The waste is go­ing less far to Alling­ton than it would have been go­ing to the com­post­ing plant at Hawkhurst.

“So in en­vi­ron­men­tal terms I think it is bet­ter to take it to Alling­ton than Hawkhurst. Cer­tainly us­ing it to fuel Alling­ton’s waste-to-en­ergy plant to turn into elec­tric­ity is putting it to very good use.”

Mr Bo­den is also an­noyed that the coun­cil has not been to see WyeCy­cle’s work dur­ing the 20 years it has been run­ning. He said: “I find it in­cred­i­ble that there is one of the long­est run­ning, most suc­cess­ful waste re­duc­tion projects in the coun­try in Ash­ford bor­ough and the coun­cil­lor who is in charge of waste and re­cy­cling for the Ash­ford bor­ough doesn’t come out to see us.

“He would learn more in an hour with us in Wye and Brook than he’ll learn from how­ever many hours in the coun­cil cham­ber de­bat­ing it with his po­lit­i­cal col­leagues.”

Cllr Bell said: “The prime rea­son I haven’t vis­ited is that I haven’t been in­vited.”

But he has, how­ever, vis­ited the Alling­ton plant.

He said: “I spent a day go­ing round that. It’s very wrong to por­tray it as an incin­er­a­tor, it’s much more than that. Res­i­dents should be en­cour­aged that our resid­ual waste, in­clud­ing the green waste, is used to pro­duce elec­tric­ity and, in fact, there’s a num­ber of re­cy­cling pro­ce­dures which take place at Alling­ton as well.”

The de­ci­sion to stop re­cy­cling green waste was a fi­nan­cial one, as the cash-strapped coun­cil at­tempts to save £300,000.

But Mr Bo­den warns that the tax­payer will still foot the bill.

He said: “The gate fee for Alling­ton comes out of our coun­cil tax.”

WyeCy­cle’s so­lu­tion is to charge peo­ple for green waste col­lec­tion and the group thinks the coun­cil should do the same. Mr Bo­den says it is the fairest way.

He said: “Those who choose to home com­post don’t pay and those who choose to put it out for col­lec­tion do pay.

“By telling every­one to put it out for the bin men it means every­one who home com­posts still has to pay for other peo­ple’s green waste to be taken to Alling­ton.”

Cllr Bell feels dur­ing a re­ces­sion

“Lots of farm­ers around Ten­ter­den would jump at the chance to com­post their stuff lo­cally if only the coun­cil would make ef­forts to work with them.”

Cllr Bell con­ceded that Hawkhurst was closer to Ten­ter­den than Alling­ton, though re­it­er­ated that sav­ings needed to be made.

He said: “The real driver be­hind the change is firstly that the coun­cil is short of money and needs to make sav­ings, and se­condly whether we should charge for re­cy­cling or bring the ser­vice to an end.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group

Alling­ton incin­er­a­tor, where Ash­ford’s green waste will be taken

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