April 21, 2011
Concerns grow over rising fly-tipping in Burnham-On-Sea area
of waste in the countryside around Burnham-On-Sea appears to be
on the increase following the reduction of opening hours at nearby
Highbridge recycling centre.
Burnham-On-Sea.com has been alerted by several readers in recent
days to increased cases of fly-tipping.
photos show rubbish dumped along Stoddens Lane on the outskirts
of Burnham this week. Other waste has been left to roads on Highbridge's
Isleport Industrial Estate.
It comes after Burnham-On-Sea.com recently reported here
that Highbridge's Isleport Recycling Centre has begun operating
on reduced hours as part of cost-cutting
at Somerset County Council. The centre is shut on Tuesdays
and Wednesdays and now operates a half day on Sundays.
Waste Partnership Managing Director Steve Read told Burnham-On-Sea.com
this week: "Fly-tipping at Highbridge and Bridgwater
Recycling Centres has so far proved a limited and declining problem
as residents get used to the new timetable, which includes closures
on two days a week and from 1pm on Sundays."
"The changes in hours are part of a package of savings affecting
all the county's recycling facilities to help meet funding reductions
of £1.9million over two years from Somerset County Council.
We expected that it would take a little time for changed arrangements
to settle down."
"There will always be a few who miss out or forget, but fly-tipping
at these sites has not been in great volumes. We think for the
most part it is due to people who genuinely did not know about
He added: "While we appreciate that residents are not always
happy about what we have had to introduce, and we apologise to
anyone inconvenienced by the changes, many people continue to
make full use of all our services."
SWP also points out that leaving waste at a place where it is
not permitted can be classed as fly-tipping, which is a criminal
offence and the penalties for those convicted can be up to five
years' jail or an unlimited fine.
urges anyone with information about fly-tipping to contact Sedgemoor
Burnham and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt told Burnham-On-Sea.com
on Wednesdau: "The County Council's policy is short-sighted,
and doesnt make financial sense. It isnt the County
Council budget which covers the costs of removing dumped rubbish
- it's Sedgemoor District Council who have to 'carry the can'
and, as a consequence, taxpayers in the Burnham area will end
up paying much more in the long run."
"We calculate that you only need a small number of incidents
of fly-tipping each week for the County Council's cost 'savings'
to be wiped out by the extra costs placed on the district council."
Waste Partnership spokesman added: "Unfortunately,
any material intended for recycling but left as fly-tipping will
be collected and taken to landfill, and all of these costs, including
£56 a tonne in government landfill tax, are paid by all
council tax-payers. So far, the only evidence we have to link
fly-tipping to the changes is the occasional placing of materials
outside recycling centres. We are working with colleagues in the
district councils to monitor the impact of the changes on fly-tipping
and kerbside collections. It is early days, and we expect things
to settle down once people are more used to the changes."
Highbridge County Councillor John Woodman added: "There have
been cuts to the service to balance the book, these are not desirable,
but as we all know there is less money now than there was before.
Somerset County Council has a debt that costs about £100,000
a day to service, which was left to us by the previous administration.
Without this, we could do so much more. Highbridge recycling centre
remains open for 40 hours a week and there is no charge for entrance
or charge for domestic waste."