Gloucestershire, south Wales and Devon councils lose £1m recycling cash

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Image caption South Hams District Council in Devon warned authorities would be affected by a buyers' market in paper

Three local authorities in England and Wales are facing a loss in revenue of nearly £1m after the collapse of a recycling plant.

Aylesford Newsprint in Kent went into administration in February.

Printwaste supplied 30,000 tonnes of waste from South Hams District Council in Devon and two unnamed councils in Gloucestershire and south Wales.

It said other mills were unable to match Aylesford's prices, so Printwaste had cut the amount it pays councils.

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Image caption Printwaste is now sending recycled paper to Vietnam, Indonesia and India
Image caption Aylesford Newsprint employed more than 300 people in Kent

More than 230 people were made redundant at Aylesford, near Maidstone, with the firm blaming a fall in newsprint sales.

Printwaste is now sending recycled paper to Asia, including Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

Geof Robins, Printwaste operations director, said: "Had we supplied the mills we would have been talking about the councils paying us £10 a tonne for us to take waste, so we made a commercial decision.

"The sad fact is that about £30 a tonne has been wiped off the value."

That has meant a loss to the three authorities of about £900,000 a year.

It takes about 6,000 tonnes of paper waste from South Hams District Council in Devon, meaning a loss of about £192,000 a year to the authority which saw prices cut from £37 a tonne to £5 a tonne.

The rest comes from authorities in south Wales and Gloucestershire which it declined to name.

Rufus Gilbert, South Hams council's executive member for environment services, said the authority would maintain its recycling services.

But he warned: "There is no doubt that the financial implications will ripple across all local authorities and a buyers market will see prices fall at least in the short term."

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