Community group asking people to boycott service
firstname.lastname@example.org A small community recycling group is taking on Ashford Borough Council in a David vs Goliath battle over the new recycling service.
WyeCycle, which has run the recycling service in Wye since 1989, has urged villagers from Wye and Brook to boycott the new Biffa recycling collection taking place today (Thursday).
The not-for-profit organisation’s founder Richard Boden has asked residents not to put out their recyclables for collection by Biffa.
He is hoping to retain the service after submitting an expression of interest under the Localism Act’s Community Right to Challenge initiative – a legal mechanism which allows community groups to register an interest in running a local authority’s service.
“We’re the longest running scheme in the country and we’ve always said we would do it as a community exercise as long as the community wanted us to do it,” said Mr Boden.
“The Biffa bins are out there but we’re carrying on as normal for now.”
As it stands, WyeCycle’s funding from ABC will end on July 31, so Mr Boden has urged residents to use its service until a conclusion over the Community Right to Challenge submission is reached.
After that, villagers have been urged to attach a WyeCycle tag, which cost £1.50, to their black box to support operating costs until support from ABC is reinstated.
In response to the boycott, Cllr Jessamy Blanford (Con), ABC’s portfolio holder for environment, wrote to villagers:
“Residents may accept this challenge (the boycott) if they choose but I should advise you that ABC has a statutory duty to collect household waste and will be doing so as part of the new contract with Biffa,” she wrote.
“Residents should also note that WyeCycle would not be operating in any way as an agent or contractor of the borough council and residents would be responsible for any charges levied by WyeCycle.
“Furthermore since the cost of wheeled bins is high and as the council remains the owner of these receptacles, the council may request residents who do not wish to avail themselves of the Biffa services to return the
‘We’ve always said we would do it as long as the community wanted us to do it’
receptacles for recycling which can then be used by others.”
She added: “However we believe that the new service offered by ABC and Biffa is one of the best in the country and we hope that residents will give it a try.”
A council spokesman said: “We are aware that WyeCycle is continuing its collection services in Wye and Brook.
“Mr Boden has made an expression of interest to the council in running the service outright under the Community Right to Challenge, and this is under consideration.”
Richard Boden, WyeCycle founder, is asking villagers to boycott the new Biffa collection
Cllr Jessamy Blanford – ‘service is one of the best’