Ashdown slams Tories over recycling move
FORMER Liberal Democrat leader Lord Paddy Ashdown questioned the decision by Tory-led North Devon Council to take household recycling collections in-house during a visit to the region on Friday. Lord Ashdown, who is heading up the Lib Dems General Electi
FORMER Liberal Democrat leader Lord Paddy Ashdown questioned the decision by Tory-led North Devon Council to take household recycling collections in-house during a visit to the region on Friday.
Lord Ashdown, who is heading up the Lib Dems' General Election campaign in the South West, was visiting South Molton Recycle, which lost the North Devon household collection contract some 18 months ago, but still holds that for neighbouring Torridge.
He said: "South Molton Recycle is a national leader in this and I think it is phenomenal what a small, local community enterprise, started by the church, has become. Not only in terms of revenue generated and employment provided, but it is in the front line of what concerns us most - how to change our lifestyles to live on this planet. It is a fantastic example of the saying 'act global and think local.' My congratulations to all who launched, set up and have made it work."
Lord Ashdown then fired a political shot at the Tory-led district council, questioning its decision to go its own way on household recycling and claiming it would cost more money.
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"Here we have a really good thing going. But for some reason the Tories of North Devon, instead of using this service, have set up a different way, for which everyone is paying," he said.
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He urged a rethink to see if a way could be found to re-start joint working between North Devon, Torridge and South Molton Recycle.
Set up 18 years ago, South Molton Recyle was a pioneer before recycling came into vogue. It started as a local church initiative, run by volunteers, but has grown into a substantial social enterprise business with more than 30 staff offering a range of recycling services and a shop outlet.This currently includes collections from some 32,000 households in Torridge every week and from businesses across North Devon and Mid-Devon.
Lord Ashdown was accompanied by Lib Dem colleagues North Devon MP Nick Harvey and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Torridge and West Devon Adam Symons on his tour of enterprising Devon projects.
After South Molton Recycle, they went on to the community shop and Post Office at Bishops Nympton to meet the volunteers who now run the former village store and post office as a community venture.