Published: December 21, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea MP's anger over £300,000 cost of fly-tipping clean-up

Burnham's MP Tessa Munt has this week hit out at Somerset County Council for cutting recycling centre opening times after new figures revealed that fly-tipping has increased 65% across the county during the past year while nationally the rate has declined by 9%.

Clearing up fly-tipped rubbish has cost tax payers in Somerset more than £300,000 this year, said Tessa Munt during a debate in the House Of Commons.

It comes a year after concerns were raised that reducing opening hours at local recycling centres - including Highbridge's Isleport centre - would lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Tessa said: "In 2011, the leadership of Somerset County Council announced that Somerset would be the first county to introduce partial closures and charging for the use of recycling facilities."

"The public expressed their concern that this would lead to increased fly-tipping. The resulting costs, which are £303,615 this year, have to be picked up by the taxpayer through the District Councils."

She went on to ask the Leader of the House of Commons for a debate on how Ministers might be empowered to intervene to protect the environment and stop "this irresponsible use of taxpayers' money".

Replying on behalf of the Government, the Leader of the House of Commons said: "I am very interested in what my Honourable Friend has to say, and I will ask my colleagues at the Department for Communities and Local Government to respond to her specifically."

"Where County Councils and District authorities sit down to discuss these things together - I know they do that, as they do it with us as Members of Parliament; we do it all together - we have a better basis on which to consider matters, rather than simply shifting costs between tiers of authorities."

Speaking after the debate, Tessa told "These expenses are unnecessary and outrageous. We Lib Dems objected to the Conservatives’ decision to cut opening hours and to introduce charges on some types of waste at local recycling centres, predicting this would increase fly-tipping and increase costs to the taxpayer."

"Hundreds of local people wrote to me about this. Sadly for the countryside and the taxpayer, we've been proven correct."

Pictured: Top, Burnham's MP Tessa Munt in the Commons and, above, fly-tipping in Burnham's Stoddens Lane


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