Otter Rotters extends winter shutdown hours and appeals for help
PUBLISHED: 06:46 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:53 26 May 2017
Residents are being urged to speak out to help save the future of Otter Rotters following changes to its funding.
The community enterprise has extended its ‘winter shutdown’ after the amount of recycling ‘credits’ it receives for diverting material away from landfill was reduced.
Mandy Jennings, of Otter Rotters, said she needs the public to share how they use the service and how valuable it is to take to MPs following the General Election.
Last month Devon County Council (DCC) slashed the amount from £58 per tonne to the national average of £25 It will reduce the amount to £50 per tonne until April 2018 and stagger reductions annually to £25 by 2020.
At the time, councillor Roger Croad said DCC wanted to continue supporting community groups but found it hard to justify continuing to pay a higher rate when it could manage waste more cheaply.
Mrs Jennings said the cuts were the ‘tipping point’ and was ‘punishing’ for seasonal schemes like theirs as the costs outweighed the revenues.
The director and volunteer said: “We are a community scheme with social aims. Our guys are heartbroken they cannot volunteer.
“Other contractors benefit from multimillion pound contracts but all Otter Rotters used to be able to claim was government funded recycling credits and the price of the collection tag.”
“This suspension could have been avoided and we are deeply upset for the scheme users and also the team who have lost a role that they loved doing and improved their employment prospects.
“Going forwards we need to wait for the general election results and then we will put in another renewed plea for action on the permit costs for community groups.
“We will run a few rounds to allow residents to use up any tags they have but if people want to keep the scheme they must speak up now.”
She said volunteers collected 350 tonnes of green waste last year.
Mrs Jennings said: “Otter Rotters was founded by community minded neighbours. It was regrettable that people with cars were having to drive their garden waste to the tip and some of those without cars were putting it in their dustbins.
“By letting the scheme end the community is losing the benefit of many thousands of hours of volunteer hours including the support of the wonderful outlets without who’s participation the scheme would not of grown so successfully.
Residents can email their support to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07837477050 to be will passed on to the new MP’s and the local authorities.