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Answers to our questions on wheelies/fortnightly collections

by Dundonald Lib Dems on 27 August, 2016

It only took a month and two polite reminders, but eventually Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes received a response to the five key questions highlighted by our survey on the Council’s new plans for wheelie bins and fortnightly rubbish collections.

As Liberal Democrats, our aim is for a waste collection system that works for people, is good value for money and that increases recycling.

The introduction of wheelie bins has been a flagship idea for the Labour-run administration for years. They claim it will reduce litter on the streets. But residents who replied to our survey raised a number of concerns with the plans. So Cllr Jeanes asked the key questions. We reproduce the answers below.

We’ll be asking further questions in due course, but we’re quite concerned at the lack of detail that we have been provided with. It’s almost like the councillor in charge of waste services doesn’t know how or why it’s supposed to work – and that’s worrying for all of us.

  1. What arrangements will there be for those households that find storage and presentation of wheelie bins difficult or impossible? Will different sizes of bins be available?

It is recognised that the approach to waste collection cannot necessarily be a “one size fits all” approach and that different container types and sizes will need to be appropriate for the property type. However, in order for collection processes to be as lean and efficient as possible standardisation will be required to a large extent and any variation from the standard process would require justifiable reasons.

 The preferred bidder acknowledges that given the extra weight / size of the bin that there will be a need to review the assisted collection policy and ensure that all residents who meet the new criteria are provided with an assisted collection. The Council will also take every opportunity to work with and consult various representative groups, including the Centre for Independent Living to review and develop our policies for assisted collections.

  1. Since weekly food waste collection is proposed, parents with babies wonder if their general waste could also be collected weekly.  Used nappies go into general waste; a week’s worth of nappies in summer is unpleasant – would they be a health hazard after a fortnight?

There are currently no plans to introduce a tailored service for households with young families. Providing the sanitary waste is bagged in the same way as it is at present there should be no health risk from a fortnightly service.

  1. What increased recycling targets are being set, over what period, and what will Merton Council do if they’re not being reached?

Merton’s Current recycling target is 38%. Our recycling performance has remained static over the last 3 years, current levels of recycling is between 36 – 37%, of which 20% is attributed from the kerbside collection. With the implementation of the new service we expect to see an overall increase in recycling across the South London Waste Partnership of 4%.

  1. Similarly, what targets are being set to monitor improvements in street cleanliness and how will they be enforced?

The issue of littering and fly tipping will remain a concern. The council has commissioned an external enforcement organisation (Kingdom) to enforce against littering.  This together with the council’s well organised and continuous communications campaign will help to reduce the litter, debris and other obstructions through both education and awareness of the council’s zero tolerance approach to littering.

  1. Lastly, if the proposed financial savings do not materialise, what provision is there to break Merton’s contract with Veolia?

At present we have identified Veolia as the preferred bidder for waste collection and street Cleaning, no contract has been award and this will be subject to further work over the next 5 months. Subject to Council approval we aim to be in a position to award the contract in December 2016 ensuring that this provides value for money for our residents.

   11 Comments

11 Responses

  1. Susan Adie says:

    I suspect fortnightly collections will actually increase the amount of fly tipping.

  2. Dave Wilson says:

    I still dont understand the logic behind this, just how much have the Council had to spend on new wheelie bins, it must be astronomical.

    Just to think a couple of generations ago, I can remember the bin crews going into our BACK gardens collecting 2 metal bins EACH, taking them to the cart in front of the house empty the bin and return it to the back garden, that’s what I call a service, now there’s quite often spillages left on the street and they only have to carry a plastic bag yards to the truck. OK tell me I’m living in the past, my God they’ve got it easy in comparison now.

  3. chris platt says:

    Why fix something that aint broke!. Generally our waste collections are pretty good. Foxes do pose a problem with plastic sacks so wheelie bins are not a bad idea, but why do we need two plus the others. Are we really supposed to think that all the recycling gets done seperatly-Mmmmm!.I wouldn’t fancy two weeks worth of nappies in a bin, even bagged up-phew!. After the initial cost of start up and supplying bins etc and only a 4% increase in recycling is it really worth the council spending all our hard earned cash this way. I for one would sooner face a small increase in council tax and retain aLL our services.

  4. James Davie says:

    My wife and I think that a fortnightly collection will lead to a storage problem for families especially in the summer and more disposal of rubbish in the street and gardens etc from householders who are full up and fed up with the smell. It should also prove very attractive to bacteria, maggots, foxes and other scavengers.

    Also what will happen if a collection is missed because of holidays etc ? Will this lead to a build-up of 4 weeks rubbish in the house or in the street ? This proposal is an inferior service and quite unsatisfactory for the 21st century. I thought we were progressing not going backwards.

    This proposal looks to me like an attempt to save money either by the Council or the Waste company. I am surprised that a Labour Council has proposed it as it will impact most adversely on the elderly and houses with young children.

  5. Gloria Reeder says:

    We already have the orange garden waste bin in our front garden for which we pay £65.00 per annum. We do not intend to store another 2 wheelie bins as well and will refuse to do so. If necessary we will take our rubbish to the tip once a week and deduct the cost of petrol from our council tax! We do not have a side alley to our property and have enough of a struggle putting the garden rubbish bin out to the roadside. Bad planning! Obviously done by a man with no idea of reality.

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  7. Mark Forbes says:

    The council in their reply to the first question hit the nail on the head in the first sentence.Given this acknowledgement There can be no `however`s`,` ifs`, or` buts`.There could on this basis be a small menu of options for residents.Maintaining frequency of collection should be a critical safeguard to missed collections and
    public health generally.Recycling frequency should aim to be much higher at least nearer to 50% like Wandsworth.Long term a much higher figure to enable sustainability in the economy/environment.Space for multi bin storage is clearly a real issue as well for some people.

  8. Frances Appleby says:

    Small front gardens in the Lambton Rd conservation area do NOT have room for a collection of bins without destroying flower beds. Many already have garden tool or bicycle boxes at the front taking up further space. Does anyone care about Or seek to preserve Conservation status in this and other areas? There is on evidence that they do.
    I agree some form of lidded bins would be good but they need to be smaller and fewer in number.
    Thank you

  9. Karen Wilkins says:

    We use our food waste bin and find that our black refuse sacks do not then get ripped open by foxes.
    Fortnightly collections will increase fly tipping as many people will not be able to fit all of their waste into the bins so what can they do with it.
    This is another money wasting scheme that will not, I believe, increase the percentage of recycled waste enough to justify the cost

  10. Victoria says:

    Merton Council are clearly out of touch with reality and they are tunnel visioned in enforcing their wheelie bin project against the wishes of the vast majority of Wimbledon residents, going by the survey results which have been published. In their steadfast arrogance, they refuse to see how impractical the idea is for households that do not have the space to accommodate multiple tall bins and for those less able bodied. Their draconian approach will certainly not win my vote.

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