THE controversial closure of a Wigan tip could lead to a fly-tipping epidemic.
Councillors granted Orrell waste disposal and recycling centre an eleventh hour stay of execution to re-evaluate the cost cutting proposals,
But the leader of the Conservatives Michael Winstanley – a former Orrell ward councillor – has warned that closing the gates of the Orrell Road site at the end of this month could mean problems for many other parts of the borough.
Mr Winstanley fears that many drivers will set off on the six-mile journey to Kirkless Recycling Centre in Ince with the ‘best of intentions.’
But he fears that, delayed by the inevitable traffic jams, some will give up and instead of turning around with their waste will look for the first place to dump it.
Mr Winstanley said: “The council needs to re-think its waste strategy.
“This is only the start of a problem that is going to make Wigan an eyesore.
“This Labour Council is pursuing a completely hopeless waste policy which is letting down the people of Wigan and is one the most basic fundamental service the council provides. The closure of Orrell tip will leave the west of the Borough, covering Standish, Shevington, Winstanley, Orrell and Billinge without any household waste tip facility.
“This comes on top of the disgraceful decision to withdraw the weekly general waste collection.
“These measures will inevitably lead to more fly tipping as sure as night follows day.
But Leader of the council Lord Smith said that it was a “great pity” that Mr Winstanley had chosen to “play politics with this important topic.”
He said: “Under the strategy every home will continue to have a weekly collection of waste or recycled material.
“He fails to mention the great savings that are generated from the strategy which forms part of the £66m cuts his government is forcing on local people.
“Orrell is the least well used and so the most expensive facility per visit.
“This was a difficult decision, again on the Council by government cuts, but better than closing libraries or reducing help to vulnerable children. “
Cabinet champion for the environment Coun Kevin Anderson said that as a former councillor, Mr Winstanley would be aware that the council has had “considerable success” prosecuting high level fly tippers.
Most recently the perpetrator was given a £25,000 fine when evidence from environmental crime officers was used by the Environment Agency to bring the firm to court.
“Twenty years ago dumping waste in holes in the ground – landfill – cost us £9 a tonne, but it now costs £50 a tonne and is set to increase to over £80 in the next few years so we cannot afford to continue dumping residents’ waste in the way it used to be dealt with.”
He said that moving to new forms of collections took account of increasing costs but also environmental issues raised by indiscriminately dumping everything in landfill.