Rotters’ plight ‘a disgrace’ - say Sidmouth councillors

Mandy Jennings,Aron Jennings,Paul Bastyan,Diana Hekt,Rufas Duffin and Giles Newman outside the close

Mandy Jennings,Aron Jennings,Paul Bastyan,Diana Hekt,Rufas Duffin and Giles Newman outside the closed Otter Rotters depot. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 3588-29-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

A STRUGGLING community enterprise which collects garden waste from East Devon homes has gained the support of Sidmouth Town Council.

Otter Rotters has become bogged down in bureaucracy and unable to meet financial demands imposed upon it by Environment Agency (EA) policies.

Legislation has meant the not-for-profit service’s small composting site at Fenny Bridges remains shut as the permits required for it to operate are too costly.

The service is currently forced to pay to dispose of the waste it collects at commercial dumps with fees charged to customers only covering that cost.

Composting waste on its own site would reduce costs.

Rotters leaders say the scheme has been dealt a ‘critical blow’ and been left ‘severely compromised’ by the fees.

They have appealed to the towns they serve for help.

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Councillors in Sidmouth echoed the sentiments of their counterparts in Ottery St Mary at their latest meeting – branding the enterprise’s predicament ‘a disgrace’.

Members praised a request by civic leaders in Ottery for the EA take a ‘socially responsible step’ and waive all fees on Otter Rotters.

Sidmouth representatives have penned a letter to the same effect after unanimously agreeing to do so.

Councillor Ann Liverton said: “They [Otter Rotters] have been a huge asset to this area.

“We should come out very strongly to the Environment Agency and ask them to reconsider this.”

Cllr Graham Liverton added: “It is a disgrace what they [EA] are proposing. We should come out equally as strong as Ottery.”

Cllr Frances Newth said: “A lot of elderly people rely and depend on Otter Rotters picking up their garden waste. This is a valuable service, particularly for the older population.”

Otter Rotters takes on volunteers from all backgrounds and a number of its staff have health problems or learning disabilities.