Council decide to not renew contract with Otter Rotters for garden waste collection

Cllr Claire Wright with the Otter Rotters team in 2015

Cllr Claire Wright with the Otter Rotters team in 2015 - Credit: Archant

An Ottery community enterprise says with support it will try to adapt to ‘obstructive red tape’ after its contract was not renewed to provide a garden waste collection service.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) made the announcement, after its recycling and waste partnership board agreed not to extend an expired contract with Otter Rotters Ltd.

EDDC is hoping to offer residents a fortnightly garden waste collection service, which would be provided by its recycling and waste contractors SUEZ.

It says it will investigate the feasibility of providing the service for a small annual fee.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “Many councils across the country successfully operate a chargeable collection service such as this and East Devon is keen to continue to improve its recycling and waste service by introducing this new initiative.”

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On the subject of Otter Rotters Ltd, the spokesperson added: “There has been no formal agreement between the council and Otter Rotters Ltd since April 2016 and Otter Rotters Ltd confirmed to the council’s partnership board that it dissolved in February this year and was not currently operating.”

Following the announcement, Otter Rotters said on Facebook it would look to revise its structure and get back to work.

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The group said: “If you would like to see the Otter Rotter scheme stay in place please stay in touch. Otter Rotters is a community scheme and will update its constitution to enable it to adapt to the various changes brought about by obstructive red tape.

“It was constituted as a membership although we have not run subs for years. Would people be willing to reinstate a membership fee/crowd fund to enable Otter Rotters to revise its structure and get back to work unencumbered by hoop jumping?”

Councillor Tom Wright, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said that the council appreciated the work of Otter Rotters Ltd and its value to the community, particularly as they had provided opportunities to disadvantaged people.

He said the council had been trying to pay Otter Rotters Ltd for some time for the work they had already carried out, but attempts to pay were being hampered as the group was no longer operating.

Cllr Wright added: “The council now needs to look to the future and meet the demand for a much-wanted regular and reliable garden waste collection service.

“We have been approached by many residents asking us to help them.

“There is obviously a gap in the market and we are keen to move forward and explore this opportunity.

“We want to ensure that, among other things, this proposed service is sustainable in the long term, must cover its costs without being subsidised by the council tax payer, and operates across all areas of East Devon.

“Our residents can rest assured that we will keep them fully informed of our progress.”

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