Ludlow’s tip & recycling centre: We deserve better treatment from Shropshire Council in Ludlow

SSJ 17 Jan Council is making a mess of recycling raggedMy letter on the probable closure of the Coder Road tip and recycling centre is published in the South Shropshire Journal today:

Shropshire Council is determined to close our tip and recycling centre at Coder Road.

As you reported last week, the council received only 112 responses to its second consultation on the closure. That’s no surprise as many people had thought they had made their voice heard in the previous consultation. And more than 2,000 people had signed a petition against the closure. But this petition was not even mentioned in the briefing note sent to Shropshire councillors before the second consultation was launched.

It is worth noting the results of the first consultation. Everyone who responded said that Coder Road should be kept open.

The real reason that Coder Road does not get enough use – in Shropshire Council’s terms – is that it is only open on Saturday mornings at weekends. No business can survive if it is closed when its customers most need it.

The closure of Coder Road will only lead to more fly-tipping and less recycling.

Shropshire Council has made a mess of our town buses. It’s about to make a mess of our local tipping and recycling facilities. It is rapidly becoming a “can’t do, won’t do” council on any public service in this town. We deserve better treatment from Shropshire Council in Ludlow.

Andy Boddington

Shropshire cardboard recycling goes to trash

Cardboard recycling rates across Shropshire have plummeted since kerbside collection was suspended by Shropshire Council in 2011. The amount collected is down 60%, plunging from 4,000 to 1,676 tonnes.

Previously cardboard was composted along with garden and food waste. This was never a good option – cardboard is a useful resource that can be reused – and the practice was ended when composting regulations changed.

But it has proved too expensive to reintroduce kerbside collection of cardboard waste under the Veolia contract.

In October 2007, Veolia Environmental Services was awarded a 27-year contract by the Shropshire Waste Partnership (now Shropshire Council). I have never heard a good reason why we need a waste contract that lasts more than a quarter of a century. Think of how everything we do has changed since 1980, including our recycling habits. We are already beginning to regret this contract, yet we are stuck with it until 2034.

Veolia are currently building a £60 million incinerator at Battlefield on the outskirts of Shrewsbury. The burner has been mired in controversy from the start. Shropshire Council turned down the planning application and then paid a cool £759,505 towards Veolia’s costs of appealing against that decision. Veolia won and has now joined the stampede of waste companies building incinerators.

Unfortunately, the UK is heading for an oversupply of incineration and other ‘residual waste’ treatment plants. We will soon have seven million tonnes more capacity than there is residual waste requiring treatment. This capacity will be brought into use at the point when waste volumes are falling and recycling is increasing. The UK is set to witness a scramble for the remaining residual waste, and incineration costs are bound to fall. Shropshire’s costs will of course remain fixed under the Veolia contract, but at least we will have cardboard to burn.

Cardboard is not the only troubling aspect of Shropshire Council’s waste contract. This year the council has parked £21 million in reserves as protection against rising future costs of the Veolia contract. It is money that could be usefully spent on services and facilities in these cash-strapped times, but it is being sucked into the ruinous waste contract.

There is one bit of good news on the cardboard recycling front. Local people, charities and social enterprises are teaming up to collect cardboard – just like they did in the 1970s. But for all these worthy efforts, ad hoc collections will never substitute for household collection of cardboard.

It might be more than two decades before we get proper cardboard recycling in Shropshire. Let’s face it. The county’s waste contract is trash!