Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Agreeing with Eric Pickles over bin collections

It's not often I agree with Eric Pickles, but I'm now in the position of agreeing with him twice in a week.

Last Thursday he attacked councils for giving huge payoffs to former officers. Now he is in a battle with Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman over weekly bin collections.

Mr Pickles wants councils to keep weekly collections for household waste. Ms Spelman believes that fortnightly collections will save money and help boost recycling.

I agree that abolishing weekly collections can save money, but disagree with her view that such a move will boost recycling rates. I think that offering decent recycling services and lots of education can have just as good an effect in reducing landfill.

When it comes to money, the Council needs to consider just what services it thinks local people deserve. If you go out into the street and asked about council services, most people will name bin collections as one of the top three services that authorities provide. Making sure that this is a quality service is important to them and I'm glad that Cornwall currently provides a high quality service.

But the Conservative led Council has voted in favour of abolishing weekly collections as part of its forward budget. They have said that there will be a proper debate before such a scheme is implemented and I have been digging to try to find out when such a debate will take place.

Following the decision by the Cabinet to move towards an integrated bin service across Cornwall (as it was a function of the old districts there are currently six different contracts), I asked what the timescale would be for this decision.

I have now been told that the decision could be taken as late as December next year but is far more likely to be taken within the next six months. I've asked the Council to make sure that this is not simply a decision taken by the Cabinet but is a proper consultation with all councillors and with residents across Cornwall.


iain said...

Surely the point about localism is that we can make our own minds up and not be centrally directed by the Sec of State. We have had 2 weekly collections for some time and yes it has saved us money and yes it has massively upped our recycling. We introduced weekly food waste collections at the same time and that has dealt with many objections. As you will see from this post not all of us think Pickles is behaving altogether rationally on this issue.

DNP said...

I will own to having a jaundiced view of localism. Most politicians believe they are elected to represent the views of others rather than to allow others to make up their own minds.
That to one side, Lanson Boy is correct in thinking that refuse collection is high on the list of desirables of folks in this part of west Cornwall. I would expect vigorous opposition to any move to go to bi-weekly collections.