Double blow for Otter Rotters

09:00 24 January 2013

The Otter Rotters team get ready to roll after a break from green waste collections over the winter.

The Otter Rotters team get ready to roll after a break from green waste collections over the winter.

Archant

Quagmire of red tape threatens the affordability of the service to the local community.

A community enterprise group based near Honiton says it is determined to continue providing an affordable service to the local community despite being faced with a “crippling double blow” and “a quagmire of red tape”.

Otter Rotters, which has a composting site at Fenny Bridges, has had to change the way it operates in order to comply with Environment Agency permits brought in by the Government.

An additional problem faced by the group is that composted green waste used on land will soon have to be accredited - adding to the costs involved.

The group provides curbside collections of green waste across East Devon, including Honiton, Feniton and Dunkeswell.

Mandy Jennings, a director of the group, said: “There is a high on-going cost behind gaining these permits and accreditations; they are so expensive small organisations cannot do it.

“It is a crippling double blow from the Government - we are in a quagmire of red tape.”

A number of groups have campaigned to try and have permit costs, currently £1,000 a year, reduced.

Previously, the green waste was exempt and, once composted, was made available to local farms and schools.

The new permits mean there are limits placed on the amount of green waste that can be kept at the site at any one time.

Otter Rotters, as an interim measure, is paying for the green waste to be off-loaded at a commercial site, which is forcing up costs and means it is not able to redistribute the composted product back to the local community.

The permits and accreditations could force the group to push up its prices which Mandy says is something the Rotters are “desperately trying to avoid”.

She added: “These fees will have a cost impact on the service unless we can minimise the impact by increasing capacity.”

Otter Rotters would like to see the local community show its support for the scheme and demonstrate how much the service is needed and valued.

“The service should be protected at all costs.

“It is something the public really cherish and we have more and more people using it because it is a system that works well and we want to keep it going,” adds Mandy.

Collections resume from next month and the team is always on the look out for volunteers.

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