Walton on the Naze: ‘Common sense’ plea in garden waste war

Eric Rowley, red hat, of Pightle Way, Walton-On-The-Naze and local and county councillor, Mike Page

Eric Rowley, red hat, of Pightle Way, Walton-On-The-Naze and local and county councillor, Mike Page who are dismayed at the local council re-cycling centre who won't allow him to take garden rubbish in his trailer. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A MAN embroiled in a two-year battle with council chiefs after being banned in law from recycling garden rubbish from neighbours is pleading for “common sense” to prevail.

Eric Rowley, of Pightle Way, Walton on the Naze, started taking rubbish from gardens to a recycling centre in his trailer after joining charity Timebank in April 2011.

But just three months later Mr Rowley was questioned at the recycling centre in Kirby-le-Soken.

“I had been there days before and I said I was now recycling my neighbours’ rubbish,” Mr Rowley, 66, said. “But they stopped me. I was shocked.”

Mr Rowley spoke to friends who had also been turned away.

After studying the law, Mr Rowley discovered it was an unlawful act.

“We have come up against this crazy recycling legislation and we have to confront and challenge ridiculous laws like these,” Mr Rowley said. “It makes a complete nonsense of recycling. We are just ordinary pensioners wanting to create a better society by occasionally recycling rubbish.

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“I’ve been trying for two years to find a way around it but I’m not getting any answers. I’m just hitting my head against the bureaucratic wall. We just want common sense to prevail.”

Tendring District Council councillor Mick Page said he was in full support of Mr Rowley.

He said: “The legislation that is in place is wrong. I didn’t know it existed. It needs to be looked at very carefully so this problem can be tackled.

“I think voluntary organisations should be given exemption certificates to carry out these good deeds.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We appreciate the concerns raised by Mr Rowley regarding access to the recycling centre for household waste service.

“There are a number of legislative and contractual reasons why the centres only accept waste from individual residents.

“But a new contract commencing in November 2013 will provide greater opportunities for community-based organisations such as Mr Rowley’s to access Essex County Council contracted waste services.

“We would like to extend our previous invitations to meet with Mr Rowley to better understand his waste requirements and to assist him with the legal disposal of the waste he is collecting.”

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