Com­mu­nity group ask­ing peo­ple to boy­cott ser­vice

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Waste Collection Latest - By James Scott

js­cott@thek­m­ 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.”

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM2697346 FM2697305

Richard Bo­den, WyeCy­cle founder, is ask­ing vil­lagers to boy­cott the new Biffa col­lec­tion

Cllr Jes­samy Blan­ford – ‘ser­vice is one of the best’

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