'Fly-tipping haven' result of recycling centre being closed to pedestrians

The Kirkcaldy Recycling Centre has denied pedestrians access since during the Covid pandemic.

‘Fly-tipping haven’ result of Kirkcaldy recycling centre being closed to pedestrians LDRS

A community has been denied pedestrian access to the local recycling centre since Fife Council slashed those privileges during the pandemic. 

As a result, Mark Todd, 49, claims he has been forced to watch his Langtoun community turn into a fly-tipping haven. 

“Fly-tipping was never an issue we noticed because it didn’t happen,” he said. 

“The recycling plant was just down the street, so there was no excuse for anybody. Even if you had an old bike you didn’t want, you could walk down to the tip, throw it in the designated area, and that was it.” 

He continued: “There’s definitely a trend of fly-tipping now that access has been denied to walk-ins and there’s definitely been an increase of incidents in the area.” 

Mr Todd has been going door-to-door to gather signatures for his petition to reinstate pedestrian access in Kirkcaldy and force the council to listen. 

By the end of the week, he hopes to have more than 100 people on his side. 

“By allowing pedestrian access at our local recycling centre, we can encourage more households towards responsible waste disposal and recycling practices,” his petition states.

“This will help in addressing littering and fly tipping issues in our area. We urge Fife Council to consider this petition seriously for the betterment of our community and the environment.”

According to Mr Todd, a variety of areas around the recycling centre are now turning into dumping ground for waste. It’s a combination of factors – pedestrians are now being turned away with their waste. 

And it’s a long-standing issue predating the pandemic, but he said Fife Council also turns people with vans and 4X4 vehicles away unless they pay commercial rates. 

Rather than taking their waste home or paying higher commercial fees, they dump the rubbish in hidden car parks or glens near the recycling centre. 

“Basically all we’re asking for is pedestrian access to the recycling plant,” he said. 

He’s not the only one pushing for the council to reinstate pedestrian access. 

In recent months, councillors across the Kingdom have been fighting on behalf of their communities to see pedestrian access restored. 

Councillor Rod Cavanagh (SNP for Kirkcaldy East) is one of the members pushing the Labour Administration to reinstate pedestrian access at Kirkcaldy’s recycling centre.

According to Cllr Cavanaugh, the council agreed all the way back in 2022 “that work would be undertaken to provide pedestrian access” at Dalgety Bay, Lochgelly and Kirkcaldy centres at a cost of £32,000. 

However, a more recent report estimated the cost of reinstating pedestrian access at £500,000. 

That report was meant to go before the Fife Cabinet Committee last month, but Council Leader David Ross (Labour) removed the report from the agenda at the last minute, explaining: “On council officer advice, I’ve decided to withdraw this report from the agenda.

The report never faced public or council scrutiny, but according to Councillor David Barratt (SNP for Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay), it “seemed to imply” that the only way to expand pedestrian access was to hire 18 full time stewards for each site at a cost of approximately £500,000 per year. 

“It seems to imply that man is capable of walking on the moon but is incapable of walking into a recycling centre,” Cllr Barratt told the council.

Cllr Cavanaugh was perplexed by the seeming lack of transparency around costs.

“In Feb 2022 it was agreed that work would be undertaken to provide this access to Dalgety Bay, Lochgelly and Kirkcaldy centres at a cost of £32,000,” he said. 

“[The latest] report has estimated the cost of such an exercise at £500,000. Now, out of the blue, we’re presented with a proposal to create access at only two out of the three sites identified as suitable at a cost of £20,000. What’s going on?” 

Cllr Barratt was likewise critical. He said that there was no indication that Dalgety Bay or St Andrews “are uniquely immune to accident prone to pedestrians” and yet the administration has found a way forward. 

Although the Labour administration has allocated £20,000 from the 2024-25 general revenue budget to reinstate pedestrian access in St Andrews and Dalgety Bay, Mr Todd will continue fighting for the same privileges to be returned to Kirkcaldy.

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