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Giant composter was first choice


Preparations for the launch of the twin-bin scheme bordered on farcical after the bins’ German manufacturer failed to produce bins in time for the council’s deadline.

Only 70% of the district, or 34,000 homes, started the scheme on January 31, 2005. This meant 10,000 homes, mainly in rural areas, had to wait until March that year.

As the problems emerged, there were calls for the then council cabinet member with responsibility for recycling, Mr Peter Harris, to resign.

The delay was blamed on the likelihood that Sulo received a bigger priority order, meaning the district council’s order could not be completely fulfilled in time.

The twin-bin scheme only emerged as the most likely method for meeting recycling targets after the council scrapped plans for a giant composting plant.

In January 2003 the council’s ruling cabinet decided to spend £50,000 on a feasibility study for a composting system, the Bedminster scheme, which they said would cut the amount of waste going to landfill by 70%.

The Advertiser revealed in October that year that the cabinet pursued the scheme against the wishes of its officers and Nottinghamshire County Council.

The cabinet also agreed to pursue an exclusive arrangement with South Herts Waste Management for a £15m composting plant off Bowbridge Road, Balderton, even though a cheaper alternative was offered by a firm at Caythorpe, Lincolnshire.

Doubts about the Bedminster scheme came to a head in November 2003 when members voted by 19-17 to start negotiations with the county council for a twin-bin scheme.

But at a late-night cabinet meeting immediately afterwards, members over-ruled their colleagues and decided to press ahead with the composting plans.

A month later the cabinet was forced into a u-turn over concerns the composting plant would not gain planning permission. The cabinet then finally agreed to switch to a twin-bin scheme.

Another blow came in February 2004 when the council’s bid for £11/2m of Government money was rejected. This meant the council would have to meet the full cost of the £2m twin-bin scheme.

It was hoped the system could be up and running by the end of that year.

In April 2004 the Advertiser revealed that 5,000 homes would not be able to use the twin-bin system because of a lack of space so alternatives were considered.

The delays meant Newark and Sherwood had the worst recycling rate in the county, with 8% of waste being recycled compared with a Government target of 18%.

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