ONCHAN Commissioners have been told ‘it’s up to you’ when it comes to opting out of kerbside recycling.
Department of Infrastructure member Graham Cregeen MHK said it was not up to him to decide what a local authority did with ratepayers’ money.
And he said the recycling lorry bought by government to collect the waste from the kerbside in Onchan could easily be used elsewhere as other local authorities had expressed an interest in the scheme.
Mr Cregeen said: ‘We are saying it’s their choice. Waste is a local authority issue. I think they want us to tell them they have to do it but we are not going to. I think it’s got into a little bit of a something about nothing.’
Onchan Commissioners announced they would be pulling out of the kerbside recycling trial last month, leaving Douglas and Braddan to continue. The local authorities will have to pay for the scheme themselves as of September and it is at this point that Onchan is due to quit.
Commissioners chairman Brian Stowell has said the financial and environmental benefits don’t stack up. He said a report put together by the commissioners’ clerk Malcolm Hulme seems to show the scheme is not beneficial and he has berated the government for not providing figures to support its belief that it should continue.
He has also claimed there is not enough waste to keep the incinerator running and therefore it needs the waste that would be collected under the kerbside scheme.
Mr Stowell said the incinerator stopped operating in early November because there was not enough waste to keep it going. But Mr Cregeen said, although this was technically true, the reason for it was much less sinister than that suggested by Mr Stowell.
‘What they [incinerator operator SITA] were doing was running down the pit for a shutdown for maintenance,’ he explained. ‘They ran the pit down so that while the incinerator was shut down they could still take the refuse in but unfortunately they ate into it too much and it shut down.
‘It was over a weekend and since nothing came in they ran out of waste to keep it [the pit] going. It was one of those things, because the incinerator is running at just above its minimum.’
Mr Cregeen said a meeting was due to be held between the DoI, Onchan Commissioners, Braddan Commissioners and Douglas Corporation as the Manx Independent went to press about kerbside recycling. He said Douglas Corporation’s consultant would be there to provide figures on the scheme and he said it would have been wiser for Onchan to have waited for this information before opting out of the scheme.
‘At least that way they would have been able to make an informed decision,’ said Mr Cregeen.