Posted: Wed 1st Feb 2023

Roll-out of controversial three-weekly bin collection pilot “paused”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 1st, 2023

Flintshire Council’s cabinet will have to revisit its controversial decision to pilot three-weekly bin collections in an area of the county.
Last month the authority’s ruling Labour cabinet implemented a recommendation chosen by the environment scrutiny committee to pilot a three-weekly black bin collection along with providing more education and communication about recycling to residents.
Any roll-out of the pilot will now be paused after being instructed to review the decision.
The decision was made to tackle Flintshire’s risk of missing Welsh Government recycling targets which carries a heavy six-figure fine. In recent years Flintshire’s recycling rate has gone backwards and is currently 10 per cent behind the 2024-25 target of achieving 70 per cent recycling.
But half-a-dozen councillors from the main opposition Independent group called the decision in, concerned about the costs of a pilot, how its success would be measured and highlighting that pre-Covid Flintshire residents were excelling at recycling.
They doubted that reducing frequency of bin collections would force those currently not recycling to do so, and felt that those who do recycle properly would be penalised.
One of those who proposed the call-in, Buckley Bistre West Cllr Richard Jones (Ind) said: “It’s our view that collection frequencies have worked in the past, and that with education and awareness it will work again.”
He added that he felt it would be unfair to penalise people with three-weekly collections, and potentially disenfranchise residents in trying to get them to do the right thing.
Another backer of the call-in was Llanasa and Trelawnyd Cllr Glyn Banks (Ind), former cabinet member for Streetscene, who called for greater enforcement before reducing the service.
He said: “Residents would no doubt receive a lesser service.”
“Going back to Covid, we allowed people to put sidewaste out, so they’ve got a bit lazy lately and we’ve got to help people through education and engagement to enhance what they’re doing.”
Connah’s Quay Golftyn Cllr David Richardson (Ind), who also asked for the call-in, said: “Why are we only looking at frequency for the pilot when there are other things I believe we can improve.
“Education is one of them, enforcement is another. It doesn’t seem to happen in the area I represent. Enforcement is something I don’t see.”
Connah’s Quay Central Cllr Bernie Attridge (Ind), leader of the opposition and proposer of the call-in, called for the social housing grant to be withheld from housing associations the council works with, unless their tenants were recycling properly.
Members were given a presentation from Streetscene chief officer Katie Wilby, who suggested the call-in was premature given the pilot had not taken place yet, the results of which could allay some of their concerns.
She said that education and enforcement was already happening but reducing the amount of residual waste collected in black bins was the only way to force an increase in recycling.
Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers (Ind) called for the cabinet to be given more details about cost and potential impact before going ahead with the pilot decision.
He added: “To think reducing the weekly bin capacity by 30 litres from 90 down to 60 litres would stop those intent on putting recycling in the black bins, well it would not. It’s time for a re-think.”
Cllr Peers suggested instructing cabinet to review the decision, taking on board the concerns about the three-weekly collection pilot.
If members had been satisfied with the cabinet decision they could have endorsed or accepted it, and if still unhappy it could have been referred to full council.
But the committee decided to back Cllr Peers’ suggestion of sending the decision back to cabinet, putting its concerns in writing, for the cabinet to reconsider amending the decision or not.
The cabinet will now review the decision at its next meeting.
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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