'Long-distance' journeys of fallen leaves blasted by councillor
PUBLISHED: 13:49 05 January 2016
A green-minded councillor has blasted a policy that sees leaves collected for composting - then driven 'long distances' to be recycled.
Roger Giles has complained that some of the debris collected by East Devon District Council (EDDC) could be sent some 60 miles to Torrington, North Devon.
He says the process of transporting compostable materials several miles away from where they were collected defeats the whole point of recycling and is calling for a change in policy.
But EDDC has blamed a lack of space to carry out on-site composting and says contaminated waste was causing problems in gardens.
Councillor Giles, an Ottery St Mary representative, said: “Some of the leaves collected in East Devon are sent out to Torrington.
“It’s appalling. If we are sending leaves long distances for composting, it takes the point out of what we are doing. It’s a pity something like this is letting the side down.
“I hope they will look into doing what they can.”
In response to a question from Cllr Giles at a council meeting last week, an EDDC recycling officer said: “Leaves collected from our East Devon parkland used to be composted in leaf mould heaps in our depots.
“We stopped doing this over a year ago because of limited space at these depots, but also because the leaf mould composted this way was of low quality and full of weeds.
The leaf mould would then spread weeds such as bindweed across any bedding areas it was used on.
“Leaves from our parkland are now collected in skips at our two depots along with other green waste generated from our parks and open spaces. This is composted locally near Exeter.
“Road sweeping leaves have always been treated differently due to their mix with road debris and contaminants and need to be processed at appropriately licensed facilities.”
Cllr Giles suggested the community enterprise recycling company Otter Rotters could take on the composting duties for the authority, but the officer said EDDC needed to consider efficiency and costs.
It would also be required to go through an official procurement process before a change in contractor could be considered.