CHARLES GRAHAM - How green and efficient is a closed tip?

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DRIVING past Orrell tip the other day I saw it was still open.

That was a nice surprise, having been told at a summer briefing that the council intended closing it by the end of 2011.

The deadline having passed, I had rather hoped there had been a change of heart. Sadly not, the shutdown only now being postponed until January’s end unless a belated local campaign can force a delay or U-turn.

The authority argues that of all its sites the Orrell one is the least efficient, recycling much less waste than the others. But how efficient is no tip at all?

The council is short of brass but also faces big penalties if it doesn’t up its recycling rates markedly by 2015.

Faced with a 15-mile round trip to Ince (the next nearest borough tip), one wonders how Orrell and Billinge folk will react. I am sure some will grudgingly expend lots of cash on over-priced petrol and drive to the far side of Wigan, spewing out lots of uneco-friendly fumes en route, in order to keep depositing waste that won’t go in our array of multi-coloured bins.

Others, I suspect, will be more inclined to get shut of the rubbish through other, less troublesome means, including fly-tipping which will cost the council (and taxpayers) a sizeable sum to clean up.

The authority says it has no evidence to suggest that there will be an increase in illegally dumped waste, basing this on figures before and after the closure of the Frog Lane tip.

But, annoying as that centre closure was, it didn’t lead to such a lengthening of journeys as Orrell’s will. That will leave the entire western side of the borough without facilities that the council is supposed to be encouraging us to use more.

I wonder how the councils in St Helens and Skelmersdale will take to droves of Wiganers using their services for want of something nearer?