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The Otter Rotters team get ready to roll after from green waste collections over the winter.

‘Crippling double blow’ for Otter Rotters

Katy Griffin
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
7.47 AM

A COMMUNITY enterprise that collects garden waste from homes in Sidmouth and Ottery is determined to continue providing an affordable service – despite facing a “quagmire of red tape”.

Otter Rotters, which is based at Fenny Bridges, has had to change the way it operates in order to comply with Environment Agency permits brought in by the government.

An additional problem faced by the group is that composted green waste used on land will soon have to be accredited – adding to the costs involved.

The group provides kerbside collections of green waste across East Devon.

Mandy Jennings, a director of the group, said: “There is a high ongoing cost behind gaining these permits and accreditations – they are so expensive that small organisations cannot do it.

“It is a crippling double blow from the government – we are in a quagmire of red tape.”

A number of groups have campaigned to try and have permit costs, currently £1,000 a year, reduced.

Previously, the green waste was exempt and, once composted, was made available to local farms and schools.

The new permits mean there are limits placed on the amount of green waste that can be kept at the site at any one time.

Otter Rotters is paying for the green waste to be offloaded at a commercial site as an interim measure, which is forcing up costs and means the group is not able to redistribute the composted product back to the local community.

The permits and accreditations could force the group to push up its prices, which Mandy says is something the Rotters are “desperately trying to avoid”.

She wants to see the communities show their support for the scheme and demonstrate how much it is needed and valued.

Collections resume from next month and the team is always on the lookout for volunteers.