But Devon County Council says it can no longer afford to pay £58 per tonne of green waste collected and instead plans to decrease the rate to £25 a tonne.

Devon County Council’s press release doesn’t give the whole picture and the new plans don’t allow for the costs incurred from Otter Rotters’ kerbside collection arrangement, in addition to the costs of running the composting sites.  Most other groups don’t provide a door to door collection scheme.

It was with these extra costs in mind that East Devon District Council and Devon County Council agreed to pay Otter Rotters the green waste payments under contract.

EDDC cannot replicate this service without incurring substantial set up costs and running costs.

Nor is it clear whether the council has considered the cost and implications of significantly more green waste going to landfill if the scheme ceases to operate.

I have submitted the following five questions for DCC full council tomorrow:

1. What estimation has been made of the amount of green waste recycled in Devon following the proposed drastic reduction of community recycling credits?

2. What estimation has been made of the possibility of increased green waste going to landfill in Devon?

3. What estimate has been made of the probable additional cost of land filling in Devon?

4. What estimation has been made of the effect on Devon community composting groups?

5. Does the Environment Portfolioholder anticipate some Devon community composting groups ceasing to operate as a result of the proposed reductions?

Otter Rotters is extremely good value for money, something which is not reflected in Devon County Council’s press release.

The determined and committed Mandy Jennings runs Otter Rotters, which is staffed by volunteers who tend to have seen the harsher side of life and struggle to find employment in the conventional workplace.

The volunteers value working with Otter Rotters very highly and say that it has given them a sense of purpose and direction in their lives.

If these plans are approved and Otter Rotters folds, its volunteers will be devastated.

At Monday night’s (3 December) Ottery St Mary Town Council meeting, Cllr Roger Giles proposed that: “The Town Council strongly opposes the Devon County Council proposal to drastically reduce the amount paid per tonne to community recycling groups.”

This was supported by other councillors.

The public consultation continues until Friday 23 December. I urge everyone who values Otter Rotters to write and object to the plans here – https://new.devon.gov.uk/haveyoursay/ .

Other areas covered by Otter Rotters are: Awliscombe, Axminster, Broadclyst, Broadhembury, Buckerell, Budleigh Salterton, Colestocks, Colyford, Colyton, Cranbook, Dunkeswell, Exmouth, Feniton, Honiton, Lympstone, Musbury, Newton Poppleford, Ottery St Mary, Payhembury, Sidbury, Sidford, Sidmouth, Talaton, Tipton St John, West Hill, Whimple.

Photo:  With Mandy Jennings (right) and the Otter Rotters team at their Woods Farm composting site last year.