Council calls for support for Otter Rotters

Otter Rotters celebrating their 15th anniversary. Ref mhh 1798-32-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Otter Rotters celebrating their 15th anniversary. Ref mhh 1798-32-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Proposed cuts to community recycling groups could ‘threaten the existence’ of a popular Ottery service, fear civic leaders, writes Clarissa Place.

Ottery Town Council this week strongly opposed Devon County Council’s (DCC) plans to ‘drastically reduce’ the amount paid to groups such as Otter Rotters by more than half.

DCC is staging a consultation over proposals to slash the payment for composted waste from £58 per tonne to the national average of £25. This would come into effect in April.

Councillor Roger Croad, DCC’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “We want to continue to support community groups, but it is hard to justify continuing to pay a higher rate when the council could manage this waste more cheaply.”

Ottery representatives have called on residents to back the ‘socially valuable’ Otter Rotters.

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Councillor Roger Giles said Otter Rotters ‘has been at the forefront of green waste recycling in Devon for many years’, adding: “Many thousands of tonnes of material have been diverted from going to very environmentally-unfriendly methods of disposal such as landfill.

He praised the group’s employment of ‘people who would struggle to find employment in the conventional workplace’.

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“The great value of this cannot be overstated. Without Otter Rotters, the lives of many people would be diminished,” said Cllr Giles.

Mandy Jennings, director and volunteer of Otter Rotters, said its income relies on the recycling credits given by DCC for diverting material away from landfill, adding: “Our scheme is made possible by the contributions of local people. To divert legitimate income away from the scheme is a departure from the pre-existing agreements and undermines the spirit of long-standing partnership agreements.”

She said the group provides valuable work opportunities to disadvantaged people and helps the most ‘vulnerable and isolated members of the community’.

The consultation will run until Friday, December 23.

Residents can repond by visiting the DCC website or calling 0845 1551015 and request for a questionnaire.

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