Letter to County Council Opposing Closure of Recycling Centre
UPDATE February 3rd 2014
Mr Richard Workman, Director of Technical Services with Carmarthenshire County Council, has replied speedily to the letter below. His response, no doubt written within the constraints of council protocols, indicates that the protection of ‘excellent’ services, like the Llangadog recycling centre, has a low priority when meeting the government’s minimum recycling targets is all that is required.
The recycling rate at Llangadog is 80%-85%. Mr Workman writes: “We [Carmarthenshire County Council] recycle in excess of 55% of what we collect which is above the government target.”
Cutting services to accord with the legal minimum is a sad outcome for a council which has spent so heavily on ‘prestige’ projects of little benefit to residents across the county, projects like Parc y Scarlets and East Gate in Llanelli,and the golf course at Garnant. [ See the council’s statement of accounts for 2012-13 for detail on spending and borrowing.]
Mr Workman writes that the council’s recycling contract with AWS at Llangadog is coming to an end and also that “the current rates for the contract are simply unaffordable”.
He does not comment on the costs of dealing with waste and fly-tipping should the Llangadog centre close, nor on the service deprivation faced by residents in the north-east of the county.
It was good of Mr Workman to reply so quickly, but the letter indicates that from now on, merely meeting government recycling targets will be enough, and that the quest for excellence will be rejected as too costly.
The tone of his reply accords with the warning from Lord (Chris) Smith, chair of the Environment Agency, that it will not be possible, given the funds available, to protect both town and country from the damaging impacts of flooding.
The absence of money, across Britain, for fundamentals such as waste recycling and flood prevention makes Carmarthenshire’s commitments to unnecessary construction projects seem all the more bizarre.
To Mr Kevin Madge (Labour), Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council
Copy to Mr Richard Workman, Director of Technical Services
Dear Mr Madge
Llangadog Amenity Recycling Site
The intention to close the Llangadog Amenity Recycling Site, run by All Waste Services, alarms residents of North East Carmarthenshire, evidenced by more than 620 names on a petition, by January 23rd, and the attendance of some 140 people at two meetings called at short notice. The site achieves recycling rates of 80%-85% and thus performs a vital service, and is an example to other sites.
The argument that residents should transport their rubbish to Wernddu, Ammanford, or to Nantycaws near Carmarthen, is wasteful in terms of vehicle emissions, not to mention time and cost. Neither is it possible to place more rubbish out for collection, apart from paper, cardboard and tins in blue bags, because we are limited to two black bags a fortnight, and in addition materials like batteries, old light bulbs, metal, wood, and hard plastics should not be put in black bags but need to be recycled safely with minimal environmental damage.
If you close the Llangadog site, I think it inevitable that fly tipping will increase and that the overall rate of recycling in the county will decline, contrary to the requirements of regulations.
There is very strong feeling on this issue, especially since so many other services – notably primary schools and the comprehensive school in Llandovery – are being removed from this part of the county. This is a vicious spiral in which service closure accelerates the outward flight of young adults, on whom the future depends.
Pat Dodd Racher