Councillor Gordon Bilsborough claimed that democracy was "going out of the window" at a meeting of the Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee.

Members were asked to grant authority to set fees and charges for commercial waste to Senior Manager for Infrastructure Craig Dryden.


The proposal came about as a result of fluctuating costs in shipping waste to the mainland.


Craig told Members that the Isles of Scilly was "probably" the only local authority in the country that collects commercial waste and such a move was necessary "to make sure we are more responsive when there are price fluctuations so we can respond accordingly".


Committee Chairman Ted Moulson also explained that this new arrangement would allow prices to go down as well as up if the cost to the council allowed.


It was revealed that the annual cost of waste disposal on the mainland is around £60 per household in a unitary authority, whereas the cost on the Isles of Scilly is closer to £500 per household.


It is believed that charging the full cost for collecting, processing and disposing of waste will provide an incentive for businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste streams and encourage alternative methods of disposal that are more cost effective and legally compliant.


Craig said: “We are never going to make money out of waste - let’s be clear on that - but we are extremely disadvantaged being 28 miles from the mainland and we have a population spread across five islands."


He added: “It’s really important that we are recovering our costs for commercial waste and it should not be subsidised by the council or its rate payers.”


Cllr Bilsborough was against delegating any authority, saying it was “quite wrong to put this in the hands of officers only”.


Cllr Gaz O’Neill then proposed the motion be amended to delegating the authority to set fees and charges to the officer in conjunction with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the TEDI committee, and that the process must be reviewed by the committee on a regular basis.

Cllr Colin Daly suggested the delegation of power be limited to one year and then reviewed, saying that a regular basis could mean in 10 years.

Gaz responded by saying: “If I left it 10 years without sticking my light on and saying why haven’t we had a review then I don’t deserve to be on this council.”

Cllrs Daly and Bilsborough voted in favour of the annual review in the first motion.

Members then voted for the proposal by Cllr O’Neill and all were in favour (including Cllr Daly) barring Cllr Bilsborough.

Gordon insisted his vote be recorded before stating: “Democracy is going out the window.”

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