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Council faces landfill misuse claims   

A council is under pressure to probe claims “hundreds of tonnes” of material destined for its materials recovery facility (MRF) were deliberately sent to landfill instead.

A Welsh Assembly member and union Unite called on Cardiff Council to launch a full independent inquiry following anonymous claims by workers at the Lamby Way plant.

The employees told local media “up to 2,000 tonnes” had erroneously ended up in landfill instead of the MRF - a claim strongly refuted by the council.

Unite official, Mike Payne, told walesonline.co.uk: “Cardiff council has a duty to make accurate disclosures about the proportion of waste that is being recycled.

“It has targets to achieve and will be penalised financially if it doesn’t reach them. Providing inaccurate returns would be a very serious matter. Also, if material is being landfilled instead of recycled, Landfill Tax should be paid.

“If Cardiff council disputes what my members are saying, I challenge it to allow these allegations to be investigated independently.”

Vaughan Gething, the Labour AM for Cardiff South & Penarth, confirmed to MRW that he had backed the call.

Cardiff council logo

Cardiff chief operating officer Andrew Kerr rejected the allegations.

In a statement, below, he said: “The council strongly refutes any allegations of green bags being disposed of in landfill. 

“The only material that has been sent for disposal has been contaminated or rejected by the process and amounts to 6% which is below national average. 

“All inputs and outputs at waste recycling facilities are stringently and independently monitored throughout the year by regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency, HMRC and the Welsh Government.”

Full council statement

Andrew Kerr, Chief Operating Officer said:  “The council strongly refutes any allegations of green bags being disposed of in landfill.  The only material that has been sent for disposal has been contaminated or rejected by the process and amounts to 6% which is below national average.  All inputs and outputs at waste recycling facilities are stringently and independently monitored throughout the year by regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency, HMRC and the Welsh Government. 

“Following the successful change to a weekly recycling and food waste collection, the amount of recycling bags has increased by 20%.  The current capacity of the MRF is unable to fully process this increased flow and therefore some is sent to other facilities in the UK at no extra cost to the taxpayer.  The efficiency of the MRF is constantly under review, sometimes this means changes are necessary to working patterns and the staff and trade unions are always fully consulted in this process.

“The practices employed by Cardiff Council are standard across all local authorities and our priority is always to find the most cost-effective solutions for the  recycling of our waste in the interests of council taxpayers.

“At a time when Cardiff is producing fantastic recycling rates and have broken through the 50% barrier, residents and business should continue to support their schemes and have confidence that we do everything possible to recycle waste for the benefit of the city and its people.”

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