BARRIE GRUNEWALD: Big changes, big results

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We’re getting ready for some pretty significant changes this week.

Big changes for us that is, but hopefully most residents will barely notice as we introduce a whole new recycling regime next week and, quite separately, forge close links with our neighbouring councils.

For us the change to new recycling arrangements is a major shake-up. New vehicles, new collection routes and new ways of working mean we’ve been working hard to pave the way for a smooth transition

Once we’re up and running, our new recycling service will make it easier for everyone to recycle more of their household waste.

All collections will take place on the same day of the week – and there’ll be a recycling collection every week.

And because we’ll all be doing more recycling, it means household waste bin volumes will inevitably fall. So brown bins will be collected fortnightly – alternating on a weekly basis with the green (garden waste) bin collections.

One week it will be brown bins collected, the next it will be green bins. However all collections – recycling, brown bins or green bins – will take place on the same day of the week.

One new factor will be the introduction of food caddies for the borough’s households – and thousands of people have already signed up for this service. The caddies will be collected as part of the weekly recycling sweep.

Most households though will already have all the containers they need to get started.

The familiar black boxes, green and brown wheelie bins, pink bags and blue bags are all mainstays of the new system. And the black boxes, pink bags and blue bags will all be emptied every week starting next week.

If you do need any new containers though, the best way of getting them is to contact us through our website (www.sthelens.gov.uk/containers).

We’ve also agreed to join other Merseyside councils as part of a combined authority covering the Liverpool City Region.

It will see us taking our place alongside the six other constituent authorities - Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and Halton Councils – to drive forward economic growth in the region.

The new combined authority will mean that we are following Greater Manchester and other key cities lead and we will be able to strategically lead work on economic development, regeneration and housing in the city region. It will also provide a clear framework for economic growth, together with clear leadership and quicker decision-making.

But rest assured – it does NOT mean that we are part of Liverpool or will be governed from Liverpool. St Helens will continue to maintain its own proud identity, with the key decisions affecting local people taken by local people here in the town.

What it DOES mean is that we’ll be able to present a united front to the government when it comes to getting funding and grants that benefit an entire region. The government will pay more attention to a group of six councils than it will to one.

When I took over as leader of the council I made it clear that economic growth and job creation were my top priorities. The formation of a combined authority will take us a big step forward towards achieving those goals.