Published: April 9, 2011
MP backs petition to push for re-think on recycling charges

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has launched a petition calling on Somerset County Council to re-think its decision to introduce charges for waste recycling at Highbridge Recycling Centre and others across the region. first reported here how Highbridge's Isleport Recycling Centre (pictured) is now operating on reduced opening hours and has introduced new charges for recycling certain items.

The new charges range from £6-£35 for various sizes of gas bottles; £3.30-£4.20 for car tyres and £45.60 for commercial tyres; and £2.90-£116 for soil or rubble.

Opening hours have also been cut at the Highbridge centre, which is now shut on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in a bid to save costs.

MP Tessa Munt told "This is an unbelievably backward step by County Hall. All this will do is lead to extra expense for already hard-pressed people who want to do the right thing by recycling their rubbish. Charging for disposal of gas bottles, soil and hardcore and car tyres is madness – these are just the items which end up being fly-tipped all over the county."

"This is so short-sighted and selfish, and doesn’t even make financial sense. It isn’t the County Council budget which covers the costs of removing dumped rubbish of course, it's the Districts of Mendip and Sedgemoor who have to 'carry the can' and, as a consequence, we all end up paying much more in the long run."

"Somerset is the first county in the country to introduce charges, marking a pretty sad end to the green agenda promoted by the previous Lib Dem administration."

Tessa added on Friday: "I urge the County Council to have a re-think. These charges should be abolished and the County should concentrate on improving its previously excellent recycling record."

"If you’d like to join my campaign to stop the charges, sign our petition online, email or write to me and I shall take this up with the County Council, District Auditor and the Local Government Ombudsman on your behalf."

The new online petition has been launched here.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Eric Pickles was quoted in one national newspaper as saying: "Tip taxes are utterly counter-productive. I have grave concerns over the legality of this move, which runs contrary to the intentions of Parliament."


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