On Friday I attended a Council meeting in order to make recommendations to the ruling Executive about the changes to waste collection. I’m glad to say that as predicted, belated commonsense prevailed.

The headline points of the proposed changes are:-

  • To retain all changes to waste collection except the £35 charge.
  • To end the £35 charging scheme at the end of October.
  • To refund £21 per bag (a pro rata figure) to those who had bought bags.
  • To collect garden waste fortnightly but with a limit of two 120-litre plastic sacks or three 75-litre jute sacks in November and December.
  • To introduce a free fortnightly collection from April to December each year with the above restrictions, although more can be collected at a charge of £1 per bag.
  • Continue to stress the value of home composting.

The changes are welcome but at considerable cost both financially and to the reputation of the council. Around £176,000 has been spent introducing and now scrapping the charge. It was confirmed that the raw data from the consultation and the draft report from officers was available to the LibDems and the two MPs for their meeting last Friday. We first saw the report and data on Wednesday lunchtime leaving little time to digest a 50 report document and a further 50 pages of background information. When this was queried on Wednesday, we were told that the actual report was only 10 pages long with supporting data making up the remainder and surely 48 hours was enough. I’m afraid that it is this scant regard to examining an issue in its entirety that has led us to this costly position in the first place. Anything more than a cursory glance behind the headline position would have pointed out that this unpopular charge would be ineffective and infuriate residents.

The final decision will be taken at a meeting of the Council Executive on September 23rd at 10am.