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Councillors revolt against end to plastic collection

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The recycling bay located at the entrance to Ferdia Park, Ardee. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

Councillors from Louth County Council today tabled an emergency motion calling on the local authority to reverse their decision to cease the collection of plastics from bring banks across the county, leaving a town like Ardee especially in lurch with no alternative available locally.

At today’s Louth County Council meeting, Sinn Fein’s Joanna Byrne tabled the motion, backed unanimously by councillors in attendance. The decision was made at management level and there was no input from local elected representatives on the matter.

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Chief executive Joan Martin told the meeting that she does not intend to reverse the decision. The meeting heard that Louth County Council spend €136,000 a year on plastics collection and that money saved will go towards cleaning up after unauthorised dumping around Louth.

The local authority told councillors that green bin services available to households around the county meant there were sufficient alternatives available. They added that plastic bins around the county will now be used for extra glass and can deposits.

On Friday afternoon last, Louth County Council sent out a tweet via it’s Twitter account saying only that they would cease collections of plastic from bring banks from today, Monday July 17th. The news was met with dismay from local representatives, with a number of local councillors airing their shock over the decision.

It emerged that the council had previously notified the public of the end to plastic collections via a small notice published in last week’s newspapers. It appeared on page 27 of the Mid-Louth Independent, dating Tuesday July 11th. It didn’t have the required reach however, with many local councillors claiming they were only made aware of the news on the back of Friday’s tweet.

Green Party councillor and former Dundak Municipal District cathaoirleach Mark Deary responded to the tweet on Friday by writing, “My jaw has just hit the ground. No reason. No discussion. No leadership on this important local service.”

The notice read….

Because of the expansion throughout the County in recent years of household recycling collections and the availability of our Civic Amenity Centres in both Dundalk and Drogheda for those not availing of such household collections, Louth County Council will cease the collection of plastics from our Bring Banks with effect from 17th July, 2017.

Glass and cans will be collected as normal.

The inauspicious notice in last week’s Mid-Louth Independent.

 

In relation to the councillors claims they were left out of the loop on the matter, Director of Services Paddy Donnelly said the the decision was included in the Operations and Infrastructure Report which each councillor will have received ahead of their own Municipal District’s July meeting. It appears that many councillors overlooked that part of the report – but it doesn’t change their opposition to the decision.

Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie today, Jim Tenanty said the decision was published in the general section of the report, as opposed to the Ardee and Mid-Louth section which might generally pique the attention of councillors from the area. “They sneaked it in,” he said. “They should have consulted us about it, of course they should.”

“I said that with V&W closed down, Mid-Louth has suffered badly. I have concerns that if you close something down, people will go somewhere else with their rubbish,” Tenanty added, alluding to the potential increase of illegal dumping in the area with less recycling options.

Pearse McGeough said all councillors backed the motion to reverse the decision. “Nobody spoke against it,” he told us today. “The problem is there’s people going to recycling centres with bags of bottles and cans trying to get rid of it.

“Those people are responsible people who have made a conscious decision to recycle. Those people who are making a responsible decision to recycle are being penalised. There’s no logic to it. It defies logic. It’s a bad decision.”

Dolores Minogue said she first became aware of the decision after seeing the tweet sent out on Friday last. “No councillor was brought on board with this decision. There was no correspondence with any councillor,” she told ThisIsArdee.ie.

The ceasing of plastic collection in Ardee will leave locals in the town especially in the lurch given there is no alternative for recycling plastic in the town.

Previously, plastic could be disposed at V&W Recycling at Ardee Business Park but that closed last year. V&W continue to operate in Dundalk and Drogheda, offering people in those areas alternatives to recycling plastics in bring banks. But for Ardee, there is no such service.

The Ferdia Park recycling bins  – which as of this morning no longer take plastic deposits – are poised to move to a new site at the Ashwalk car park adjacent to Super Valu, with work on the €22,000 relocation set to begin soon after the council reached an agreement over the details with land owner Paul Lanney. However, with no plastic bins available for use – locals will have no alternative but to take their recycling elsewhere.

It is not as if there are a lack of bins. A number of bring bank receptacles are currently lying unused close to the water treatment plant in Ardee (pictured below).

Louth County Council currently has a very out-of-date list of bring banks operated under their control on their website. It lists Ardee as having three – Ferdia Park, Carrick Road Service Station and Stepaside Service Station. However, the latter two have long since been removed. The list was compiled in 2008, nine years ago.

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