A Fife councillor who branded those dumping rubbish at overflowing recycling points across the region as “environmental vandals”, has been blamed by council colleagues for creating the problem in the first place.
SNP Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of the environment, protective services and community safety committee, said he had been left ‘breathless’ after many recycling points were overwhelmed during the festive period.
Mountains of cardboard, glass bottles and household waste had been left piled high at facilities across the Kingdom leaving Mr Vettraino to claim the extent of “environmental vandalism” needed to be addressed.
However, several of Mr Vettraino’s colleagues have hit back, saying the buck stops with him.
“Councillor Vettraino is right – there is absolutely no excuse for the overflowing rubbish,” said independent councillor Linda Holt.
“But the buck stops with him and Fife Council, not Fifers who are doing the responsible thing in packing up their rubbish and driving it to these points to deposit.
“Cllr Vettraino has been berating and threatening people ever since he became convenor.
“Threats and insults haven’t worked, and they’re not going to work now.”
She said: “With access to recycling sites still rationed, the massive rise in online shopping and Christmas always heaping pressure on recycling points, everyone could see this disaster coming a mile off.
“Why on earth didn’t Fife Council increase the number of bins and frequency of collections?
“People pay their ever-rising Council Tax for is rubbish disposal, yet Fife Council seems determined to supply an ever poorer service.”
LibDem councillors Jane Ann Liston and Margaret Kennedy also hit back at Mr Vettraino’s claim that ‘very few’ Fifers do not have access to a car and are thus unable to use the recycling centres.
“It’s not the case that only ‘very few’ are unable to use a car to transport items to the recycling centres,” said Ms Kennedy.
“According to the last census, 74.4% of Fife households had access to a car or van; that means that a quarter do not; hardly ‘very few’.”
Meanwhile, Ms Liston added that non-driving households faced extra hurdles disposing of any waste which cannot be put in kerbside bins.
Mr Vettraino defended the council’s position and blasted those ‘not acting responsibly’.
He said: “The Council, in common with every other council, does not have the resources to service every recycling point before the bins are full, so they are being continually monitored and available resources are being directed to those where they are most needed.
“Access to the recycling centres isn’t rationed.
“Because the Council gives priority to the health and safety of its staff and that of the community, the access is controlled in the interests of ‘social distancing’ and traffic management.”
He said: “Given that the consequence of failing to maintain ‘social distancing’ is the principle reason for the ‘second wave’ of the Coronavirus, I am astounded that anyone should fail to recognise the need to control access to these facilities.
“The council’s kerbside recycling service and its recycling facilities are among the very best in the country.”