Currently up for debate
WHEN the current administration came to power in May 2007 they made two key promises, to keep council tax low and to maintain weekly rubbish collections.
WHEN the current administration came to power in May 2007 they made two
key promises, to keep council tax low and to maintain weekly rubbish collections.
Whether or not they have kept their promise on rubbish collections is currently up for debate (and it matters because in places the Conservatives won by a handful of votes they put out leaflets on polling day saying voting for them would ensure weekly rubbish collections remain).
Having read the report on the new waste contract and heard what the executive has to say about it, whether they have or not very much depends on your definition of what constitutes rubbish.
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Food waste, which I have always maintained must be collected weekly - for the sake of public health - remains weekly.
Recycling moves from two-weekly to weekly. Again, something I have always supported.
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What the council reports and executive calls (residual waste) ie, everything else, moves to fortnightly. And here is the rub, or possibly the fudge, is 'residual waste' rubbish?
If it isn't, then they have kept their promise and if it is, they haven't.
I am sure their response to this point would be they are saving �1.2 million (1.5 per cent council tax) a year by collecting fortnightly, relating back to their other promise, and featured in their report. But here their two promises conflict and they have clearly chosen between them.
The new waste programme comes into effect in the spring and is the least worst option of the four presented to council. I would like to have seen a more radical and wide reaching approach to tackling our waste.
At present the waste strategy is to get council taxpayers to divide up their waste prior to collection.
I am told the reliance on the goodwill of people is apparently the biggest hurdle to increasing our recycling rates. I have asked why people must do this and the most coherent answer I have received is that it educates them.
In the media I see David Cameron striking out against the nanny state, yet in North Somerset his party - to a councillor - voted in favour of a scheme which is apparently aimed at educating people into behaving in the way the council and Government wants.
I am 100 per cent in favour of recycling everything we possibly can. However, I do not believe enough has been done to look at real alternatives to the existing strategy, which could raise our recycling rates quicker and maintain them for the long-term.
CLLR EDWARD KEATING