Bishops Lydeard Parish Councillor, Mike Rigby, has slammed Somerset Councils, including Tory-run Taunton Deane for the cuts made to the Council’s waste recycling centres. Reduced opening hours and tipping charges were brought in at all Somerset Waste Recycling Centres in April. Many people, including Cllr Rigby, were concerned that these changes would lead to increased fly-tipping. John Williams, Conservative leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council said at the time, “It’s too early to see if there’s going to be fly-tipping.”
Under a freedom of information request, Cllr Rigby has discovered that the cost of dealing with fly-tipping in the first quarter since the changes were introduced is almost half of the cost of the whole of last year’s clean-up costs. “It’s clear from all the anecdotal evidence, we’ve been receiving that fly-tipping is on the increase and now Taunton Deane’s own figures prove this.
It’s time Taunton Deane’s Conservative administration woke up to the evidence and reversed these hugely counter-productive changes.” Waste Recycling Sites (once known as Civic Amenity Sites, taking their name from the Act that introduced them) were introduced in the 1960s in order to combat fly-tipping. “It’s not rocket science to understand that cutting access to such facilities is going to increase fly-tipping. Taunton Deane appears to have forgotten why these sites were introduced in the first place,” added Cllr Rigby. “Even Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, no lover of Council spending, said in April, “Charging for using recycling centres and the local dump will create perverse incentives for fly-tipping, harming the local environment and diverting tax-payers money into clearing up”. Cllr Rigby agreed with those sentiments, “Now we have the evidence to show that at current rates, the cost of cleaning up fly-tipping in Taunton Deane will almost double as a result of this short-sighted policy. Add to that, the environmental damage and harm to wildlife and enjoyment of the countryside that results from fly-tipped waste and it’s clear that the policy must change.”