ANGRY Dulverton residents and business owners will take part in a public meeting in Dulverton later this month to protest at the proposed closure of the town’s recycling centre.

Dulverton is among five of the county’s 16 recycling centres which Somerset Council has said it needs to close to save nearly £1 million a year as it tries to bridge a £100 million budget shortfall and avoid going bankrupt.

Williton is also on the list for closure, with residents expected instead to use the next nearest facilities in Minehead and Taunton or Bridgwater.

The council will set its 2024-25 budget on Tuesday (February 20) when the cuts are expected to be confirmed.

The Dulverton public meeting has been set for Tuesday, February 27, at 7 pm, and will be attended by Somerset executive Cllr Dixie Darch, whose portfolio includes climate change and the environment.

Ali Pegrum, from Visit Dulverton, said: “We are anticipating that it will be very well attended, extremely passionate, and of great interest.

“Data analysis of visitors to the Dulverton site/cost per visit/tonnage of waste, etc, seems to prove that choosing this site for closure has not been given careful and logical consideration.

“The town and surrounding villages are united in their firm opposition to the closure.

“The facility is used by all residents living on the south side of the Exmoor National Park, people from Winsford, Withypool, Hawkridge, Exton, Cutcombe, Brompton Regis, Skilgate, Bridgetown, Brushford, and Exebridge.

“In the event the Dulverton site is closed, the nearest alternative site would be Minehead, situated 20 miles away, and which suffers from a lack of space, poor disability access, and would inevitably increase the carbon footprint of those travelling there from Dulverton.

“This is in stark opposition to any successful environmental strategy.”

Ms Pegrum said council climate change policy was to reduce unnecessary private transport trips, encouraging people to cut down the miles they drove, particularly with roads already suffering from ‘overuse’ and multiple potholes.

She said if all the visits to Dulverton were transferred to Minehead, it would equate to an extra 250,000 miles per year on Somerset’s highways.

Ms Pegrum said there was also huge concern that closure would result in increased fly-tipping, harming the countryside and creating additional financial pressures.

She said: “It is estimated that clean up costs amount to between £500 to £1000 for each incident of fly-tipping.

“Based on figures from the old Somerset and Taunton Council, reports concerning fly-tipping amount to around 1,000 per year and are increasing, resulting in total financial costs for fly-tipping between £500,000 to £1 million - and that represents only part of the new Somerset Council catchment area.

“It is not just the cost of clearing refuse on public land but also on privately owned land.

“The closure of recycling centres will inevitably encourage that trend to continue to rise.

“It can be argued that closing the Dulverton household waste and recycling centre will turn out to be more costly overall than maintaining the status quo.”