RESIDENTS of the Grwyne Fawr Valley which straddles the border between Monmouthshire and Powys are complaining they are now divided, not only by county boundary lines, but by where they can dispose of their waste and recycling.

Recent changes to regulations have meant that the Llanfoist Recycling Centre is out of bounds to anyone without a Monmouthshire address. Resident Ian Mabberley, director of the Grwyne Fawr Community Interest Company told the Chronicle, ‘The Grwyne Fawr valley is split between Powys and Monmouthshire properties with the river itself being the boundary. Those on the Powys side now have to drive to Brecon as the two counties seem unable to agree to a sensible compromise.

‘To get to Llanfoist from the Valley is less than 10 miles and can be combined with shopping in Abergavenny; however to get to the Brecon facility is 25 miles each way. In the light of the current campaigns to cut greenhouse gases and improve recycling this is clearly a massive retrograde step. And to add insult to injury, Powys CC have always collected the rubbish and recycling for Monmouthshire residents in the valley, now we Powys residents are being discriminated against.’

Monmouthshire County Council cabinet member for waste and recycling, Councillor Jane Pratt, (pictured) said ‘We apologise for the inconvenience to residents living on the borders and particularly those who live closer to our facilities than those in neighbouring Counties. We work closely with our neighbouring authorities and have long established reciprocal arrangements for collecting waste and recycling from border properties and in some cases we contribute to the costs of those services.

‘Our decision was made as part of the budget review and reflects the increasing amount of cross border waste entering the sites. Residents from neighbouring authorities that have introduced partial closures, black bag sorting, charging for DIY waste etc. are increasingly using MCC sites.

‘In the most recent survey 15% of site users gave out of county postcodes which could be up to 3000 tonnes of waste per year based on the 20,000 tonne throughput into Monmouthshire’s four sites.

Ian Mabbery responded, ’As a Director of the Grwyne Fawr Community Interest Company which represents residents on both sides of the county boundary, with the emphasis being on the word Community, this move is community divisive. While residents of the Grwyne Fawr understand that all Local authorities are coming under increasing pressure to manage resources, there are a number of points in this particular case which suggest a compromise should be found.

‘First, the Powys residents of the valley share the same postcode as the Monmouthshire residents and so the statement that “15% of users gave out of county postcodes” is not relevant in this case. Second, the reciprocal arrangement already in place for Powys to collect Monmouthshire recycling and rubbish suggests that it is possible to come to arrangements that suit all parties.

Third, in the light of the current climate change issues to require people to drive a round trip of some 50 miles instead of around 15 miles is clearly going against common sense. Fourth, to impose draconian conditions such as these is simply to encourage fly-tipping, something which this valley already suffers from. In the last six months we have had computers, a vacuum cleaner and a large trailer load of old silage bales dumped, these are in addition to the, unfortunately, regular burger wrappers, Red Bull tins and cider bottles. The burden for collecting this falls on Powys CC and on individual landowners, whereas it is most likely that it is contributed to by residents of the nearest town, Abergavenny.

‘We are asking simply for a small number of properties to be treated in the same way as their immediate neighbours.’