Save our Southwold recycling centre protest

Leave our recycling centre alone!

That was the defiant message from a group of protesters in Southwold yesterday who are campaigning to stop the town's household recycling site from being dumped.

The Blyth Road site is on a list of seven recycling centres in Suffolk which are due to be closed in May to help save the county council �1.45m from its waste services budget.

Although Southwold's site and the one in Beccles may be given a six month reprieve, the protesters are hoping the county council will change its mind over scrapping the centres.

If the site does close it will mean Southwold residents face a 13 mile drive to Lowestoft to dispose of their waste.

There are also fears that closing the household recycling site will lead to fly-tipping in and around Southwold.

Yesterday's protest was organised by the local Labour Party group which urged people using the site to sign a petition demanding it be saved from the axe.

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As the dozen protesters waved banners and 'Don't skip the tip' and 'Don't dump our dump' placards they were joined by Suffolk Euro MP Richard Howitt.

He said: 'I just think its patently absurd making people drive miles to recycle goods. The impact on the environment will be huge both in terms of fly-tipping and making people drive to other sites.'

Mr Howitt told the vocal gathering that the decision by Waveney District Council on Thursday to offer �130,000 to the county council to keep the Southwold and Beccles site open for another six months as pure electioneering for the May elections.

Labour Party member Jacki Wheatley, who helped organise the protest said: 'I think it is just total stupidity by the county council to consider closing this site.

'It will cost more money in the long run to clear up fly-tipping.'

The Southwold household waste recycling site is visited 44,200 times a year and about 920 tonnes of waste is disposed of.

Last month Suffolk County Council said it would close seven out of its 18 household waste recycling sites on May 9 with the one at Eye, near Broome on the closure list.

The other 11 sites, including Lowestoft's, will see their opening hours reduced from next month.

The council says it has to close the sites and reduce the other's hours as it had to cut its budget for 2011/12 by �43.5m becuase of lower levels of government funding.

It says the altered times coincide with when sites are at their busiest during the day and remaining sites will be within a 20- minute drive for the vast majority of the county's population.

The household recycling rate is 50pc across Suffolk and the council hopes to improve this figure to 60pc by 2015.