Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Tory MP and cabinet members break ranks over waste fiasco

The Cornwall Council spin machine was out in full force at today's cabinet meeting with claims being made that Cory are now collecting more than 99% of waste and recycling*. The trouble is that no one really believes these statistics any more and, even if they are true, it still means that around 5,000 bags a week are being left on Cornwall's kerbs.

As it was not a formal matter on the agenda, Tory council leader Alec Robertson said there would be no debate but his own colleague, Independent Neil Burden insisted in relating the catalogue of failures in his patch. "If 99% is being collected then the other 1% must all be in my division," he said.

And it's not just Neil who is causing problems on this issue. Conservative Cabinet Member Armand Toms has joined SE Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray in holding a public meeting to discuss the fiasco.

So no debate today and it appears that the famously 'open and transparent' council won't be releasing any monitoring data on the new contract and the number of missed collections. Stats on the percentage of waste sent to landfill and so on will be released on a monthly basis as before. But nothing on the failure of Cory to actually pick up the rubbish in the first place.

At the same time, the claim was being made that everyone in Cornwall, except a few places in the former Carrick, have had their new recycling equipment. At this, even Indie Housing boss Mark Kaczmarek was shaking his head in disbelief. Clearly there are problems in Kerrier too.

To his credit, Julian German repeated his apology for missed collections and the call centre problems. He also said that the council were looking at the contract penalties they can impose on Cory. We'll expect a lot more detail on these.

No one believed the council when it claimed that there was no real problem. Now it is claiming that there was a problem but it is all sorted and no one believes this either. With so many Tories and Independent cabinet members breaking ranks, isn't it time Cornwall Council finally started telling the truth about the waste fiasco?

*A word on the 99% figure. It's crap. A couple of weeks ago the claim was made that only 1.5% of collections had been missed. That was based on the number of people who successfully got through to the call centre to log a complaint. But only 4000 out of 22000 calls a day were getting through and even then, many thousands of homes have disappeared from the council's postcode database and so can't be logged. Some spin wizard in the fourth floor bunker flipped this number to claim that 98.5% of collections were being made. Now that number has risen to 99% but it's still as flimsy as it was before.

UPDATE - I appear to have caused some consternation in the comments with an aside pointing out that whilst Cllr Steve Double is Cabinet member in charge of the waste fiasco, his wife Anne is office manager for Sheryll Murray MP who is organising a meeting to highlight the failures in her patch. My apologies for any offence caused.


StAustellAdam said...

"That must be causing a bit of friction in the Double household. Cllr Steve D is cabinet member in charge of waste (although his human shield Julian German is taking all the flak). Meanwhile, his wife Anne is Sheryll Murray's office manager."

Tut tut Alex, you need to get your facts right.

StAustellAdam said...

Tut tut again - joke or not it is simply not true, as you well know.

StAustellAdam said...

Really Alex, that's so unfair! Your edits are making me look silly now because my comments have no context ... play nicely please.