Town hall chiefs to re-consider three-weekly bin collections

Councillors will re-consider introducing three weekly bin collections in St Helens
Councillors will re-consider introducing three weekly bin collections in St Helens
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The findings of a task force formed to scrutinise plans to introduce three-weekly bin collections in St Helens will go before cabinet this week.

In February, St Helens Council’s cabinet deferred a decision to pilot three-weekly brown bin collections to further scrutinise the plans, which it predicts will save £1.4 million over seven years.

One of the main reasons the council is looking to change the service is to reach a recycling rate of 50 per cent by 2020. Currently it is at 39 per cent.

During the initial meeting last month, senior council officers gave evidence to support the proposals, which are part of a wider revamp of waste services.

Councillors on the cross-party panel also raised concerns from members of the public.

In the second meeting, the task force heard from Carl Beer, chief executive of Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority (MWRA).

If approved, the proposals will be funded using £3.5 million from MWRA’s waste development fund, a £29 million pot shared by Merseyside local authorities.

Mr Beer praised the council, saying it was taking a “bolder step” than other authorities with how it intends to spend its share of the fund.

Ian Burns, waste disposal and strategy manager for Wigan Council, also took questions from the panel.

Mr Burns told the task force that Wigan Council has seen four to seven per cent increase in recycling from kerbside collections since moving to a three-weekly residual bin collection last September.

He also said the authority has seen a “massive” reduction in its residual waste collection.

The findings from the task force were fed back to the overview and scrutiny commission earlier this month.
Coun Martin Bond, who chaired the group, told the commission that it was “imperative” to have the support from residents, with the task force recommending a full public consultation.

The recommendations set out in the report from task group were referred by the commission to cabinet for consideration.

The full list of recommendations in the report are set out below.

That any changes to the waste and recycling services are based on choices that are right for St Helens local circumstances.

That kerbside sort collection is the preferred method of recycling for St Helens and that officers continue to monitor the suitability of waste receptacles integral to this method.

That due to the excessive cost of co-mingling, food waste and organic waste should not be mixed and should continue to be collected separately. In addition, food waste should continue to be collected on a weekly basis.

The introduction of any future waste collection scheme should address known public health concerns and storage of waste should be in secure, rigid containers to respond to concerns about the increased risk of odour, flies and other nuisances as a result of storing waste for up to three weeks. Practical advice on wrapping and bagging waste to reduce these risks should be issued to all households.

That the possibility of introducing an opt-in service to enable a more frequent collection of clinical waste and nappies be explored.

That the garden waste scheme be re-visited to review current charges and the possibility of introducing a universal garden waste service which included all terrace properties be considered.

That current wait time of over six weeks for the replacement of green and brown bins is unacceptable and action is required to reduce this significantly.

That the council engage with private and social landlords to discuss a possible contribution to the cost of replacement bins.

Should cabinet decide to implement the pilot scheme by September 2018, further, more detailed work around public engagement and allaying the documented public concerns was required.

That the Waste Development Fund be utilised to fund a full public consultation. Once changes have been agreed, communication of any service changes across the different phases of planning and implementation including regular feedback to all is required.

That sufficient resources be allocated for additional enforcement measures needed to tackle any possible increase in fly tipping due to the introduction of a three-weekly waste collection service.

That any changes to the local authority waste and recycling schemes take into account any future legislative changes.

That the inclusion of recycling bins be considered as part of any new request for bins being placed within a community setting.

That where feasible, recycling bins be placed in all council parks, cemeteries and the crematorium.
Kenny Lomas , Local Democracy Reporting Service