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Calls to keep Dartford recycling centre clean following fire

PUBLISHED: 09:29 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 03 July 2018

Councillors call on Kent County Council to

Councillors call on Kent County Council to "pull their finger out" as fly tipping increases in Gravesham following Pepperhill fire. Picture: Matt Jones

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Gravesham councillors are calling Kent County Council (KCC) to keep the area clean following an increase in fly-tipping following the fire at Pepperhill recycling centre.

KCC closed the centre in Station Road, Southfleet after a fire in April destroyed the single-storey industrial building.

The nearest tips now for residents in Gravesham are in Dartford, Swanley and Cuxton.

Councillors claim that due to the closure of Pepperhill there has been an increase in people illegally leaving waste on the side of the roads, often blocking country roads in the borough.

Borough councillors voted unanimously to “condemn” the surge in littering, calling on the county council to offer more than the “meagre” opening hours at other tips.

Swanley and Dartford recycling centres are open on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4.30pm, with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday until 6.30pm and 6pm. On Sundays and bank holidays opening hours are from 9am to 4pm.

Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, who proposed the motion for the meeting on June 26, said: “We need KCC to up their game and give out more resources to ensure that one of the most basic of council services is met.

“I think every councillor will have their mailbags and emails full of the public asking the council to help and do more so I’m here to ask ‘what are we doing about it?’

“We are falling a bit short here and our residents are suffering.

“There’s no excuse for fly-tipping, or littering for that matter, and I fully condemn those who undertake it to the detriment of our area.”

He claimed that Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) only takes 16per cent of the proceeds so KCC “should do more and give GBC the resources we need”.

Cllr Michael Wenban (Con) shared his support for the motion and said: “I think KCC are so far off the mark, to be quite honest I think they could have built a recycling plant by the time it’s taken to do the repairs.

“There’s no contingency plan, none at all.

“There has been an increase in fly-tipping and it is shame but it’s about catching people.

“When it’s dark you don’t see people who do it. It is a blight, we are a disgusting, filthy nation when it comes to litter.

“I think KCC ought to pull their finger out, to be quite honest with you and speed this up.”

Thom Morris, a Kent County Council spokesman, said: “We appreciate that while the site is closed, it is inconvenient for people wanting to get rid of their waste.

“We also recognise the severe pressures on the surrounding household waste recycling centres.

“It is for this reason that we extended the opening hours in Dartford, Swanley and Maidstone.

“The disposal of waste is strictly regulated and only specific permitted sites can accommodate waste operations, so there are limitations to the contingencies that can be made.

“Consideration of a site, adequate in size to manage high volumes of traffic – Pepperhill usually has over 1,000 cars a day – as well as the space required to manoeuvre the lorries exchanging the skips and containers regularly throughout the day, means that siting something similar, somewhere else, is unachievable.

“However, KCC Waste Management is looking for alternative solutions and is reviewing any options for KCC land that may be used in the area that would comply with planning and the EA requirements.

“We welcome any suggestions from Gravesham Borough Council in relation to land that could be utilised for this purpose.

“KCC has not been made aware of any financial loss that has been incurred by Gravesham Borough Council as a result of this closure.

“We have offered to discuss any cost pressures that arise from the situation.

“We have paid for extra collection crews in both Gravesham and Dartford to ensure collection rounds are delivered to schedule and these have not been affected by the closure.

“We have had no further requests for assistance.

“Last week we held a day of action that included dealing with offences such as fly-tipping, which we believe is a clear demonstration of KCC’s commitment along with other local authorities to tackle organised crime.

“KCC does not tolerate fly-tipping and will continue to work closely and advise local authorities how best to deal with local fly-tipping issues.”

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