Cornwall Council's cabinet voted today by seven votes to three to retain weekly black bag ('residual waste') collections. That's a victory for residents who were concerned that moving to fortnightly collections would cause a build up of litter in the streets, harm our tourism industry and cause huge problems for those residents with little outside space.
In my contribution to the debate I praised the work of Cabinet Member Julian German for making sure that there has been a decent debate on the issue. Julian has been a passionate campaigner for moving to fortnightly collections because of the benefits to the recycling rates. I recognise that benefit but think it is outweighed by the disadvantages and so I supported 'Option A' - the retention of weekly black bag collections. But without Cllr German's contribution, the debate might well have been of far lower quality.
The public has voted by two to one in favour of keeping weekly bins collections (over 10,000 people voted) and the Council has to pay heed to that. But we also have to make sure we boost our recycling rates. Cllr German wanted Cornwall to become an exemplar authority by moving to fortnightly collections. I think that we have to set ourselves an even tougher task - keeping weekly collections but also boosting recycling rates. A number of ways of doing this have been piloted by other authorities and Cornwall Council has the chance to learn from others as well as lead the way with new schemes.
It's a challenge for the Council to deliver that agenda, but the decision today answers the very strong concerns of those who passionately oppose any move to fortnightly collections because of the likely impact on tourism.