Shock as north Norfolk community groups lose out on bottle bank cash
06:30 08 August 2013
Archant Norfolk 2013
A groundswell of shock and dismay is breaking out across north Norfolk as dozens of community causes realise they will stop getting vital bottle bank cash next year.
Parish councils, village halls, youth groups and charities are just finding out that after June 2014 they are likely to stop getting cash for banks on their sites, estimated to be worth a total to all beneficeries of £55,000 a year.
Instead, as part of an anticipated new county-wide waste contract, householders will be encouraged to put glass in their recycling wheelie bins, with local profits going to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which plans to start removing bottle banks in autumn 2014.
Groups set to be hit include the East Anglian Air Ambulance, RNLI, social and sports clubs. Town and parish councils, along with community groups, will be hit hardest, losing more than £30,300 between them.
North Walsham Town Council, which receives £4-5,000 of bottle bank cash, slammed the move as “outrageous” and members are writing a protest letter to NNDC.
Dave Robertson said: “North Norfolk District Council is nicking money off us and putting it in their own pockets and we will have to find the shortfall, which could mean we have to put up the precept.”
Cath Wilkins, chairman of Trimingham Parish Council, said it might lead to a rise in their precept and in Cley, parish council clerk Di Dann said they were “absolutely hopping mad” at the prospect of losing about £750 a year - the council’s only income apart from its precept.
West Runton Scout Group, which benefits from two banks, faces a fall of £850 a year. Group Scout leader Paul Henriksen said the bottle bank money was a “large proportion” of the group’s fundraising and added: “If we can’t find something to replace that, we are going to have to cut back a great deal and put up subs, which we don’t want to do.”
NNDC has suggested some groups apply for cash from the Big Society Fund to make up lost income. But Mr Henriksen said the Scouts had put in a bid for £15,000 of Big Society funding three months ago, and been turned down. He was also among many who pointed out that even if, at NNDC’s suggestion, they made their own arrangements, it is likely most people will put their glass in wheelie bins, leading to a “drastic reduction” in the amount taken to banks.
NNDC said feedback from residents had indicated they wanted a more convenient way of disposing of glass, rather than having to go to bottle banks. The authority also stressed the scheme’s positives and said groups have at least 16 months notice of the funding change.
A spokesman said: “Kerbside collection of glass in the existing recycling bins will be much more convenient, and will almost certainly lead to much more glass being recycled in the future, rather than going to landfill.
“The negotiated cut in cost on the current contract make it much better value for the north Norfolk community as a whole, reduces some of the pressure on NNDC funding and allows the council to continue to deliver essential services.”