Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Abolishing weekly rubbish collections still on the cards

Cornwall Council has acknowledged that abolishing weekly rubbish collections is still on the cards. On page 40 of the agenda for today's Environment Scrutiny Committee is the Council's latest position on abolishing weekly bin collections. It states:

Frequency of collection of different materials
The move to alternate weekly collections of recyclable and residual waste in some parts of the country has attracted significant media attention and a mixed reaction from residents. However it would be wrong to rule out all options at this stage as in a number of areas a well introduced change has led to significant performance improvements and service efficiencies. Any such proposal would need extremely careful consideration and consultation.

At Cabinet, Council Leader Alec Robertson assured me that no work on abolishing weekly collections would be done for at least a year. He then told Radio Cornwall that officers were actually looking at this issue now. Oops.

It seems clear that the majority of Conservative councillors in Cornwall are vehemently opposed to the move, although one put her head above the parapet and emailed all councillors that our ratings might suffer if we didn't move to fortnightly collections. She was quickly shot down by many colleagues who suggested that services ought to come before ratings.

But despite all the opposition, it seems that the Council is still pressing ahead with preparations for the scheme. For all that some councillors suggest that the Council should consider all the options, all this preparatory work costs officer time and taxpayer money. If the Conservatives were upfront about this, they should have a full political debate and allow the council as a whole to decide whether to press ahead or abandon the idea as a non-starter.

(With thanks to Andrew Wallis for pointing this out to me)

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