Big stink over green waste

RESIDENTS are getting a rubbish deal from North Somerset Council's waste collection - according to a leading councillor.

RESIDENTS are getting a rubbish deal from North Somerset Council's waste collection - according to a leading councillor.The Mercury understands:* Hundreds of lorries are currently driving green waste on a 100-mile round trip to be composted.* The bags used for green waste collections, which were being shipped in from India at 57p each, have now run out until mid-June.* The next batch of bags is coming from Europe and will cost the council £2 each. The taxpayer has been landed with a £14,000 bill because the authority is still contracted to sell the bags to outlets at 75p each.* Collecting the waste should cost the council £57 a tonne but because targets are not being hit for the volume of waste it is nearer £100.Councillor Mike Roe has criticised the council's management of green waste and says he will refer the problems to a scrutiny panel unless they are solved quickly.The Mercury also understands there are fears some green waste is ending up in landfill sites.Cllr Roe says the service is not environmentally friendly and residents who are trying their best to be 'green' are being misled.Cllr Roe said: "It ticks the right boxes with the Government and targets, but in reality it is far from effective."As for the green bags, the fact they are shipped from India cannot be good for the environment and the fact they have run out is a sign of poor management."The council estimated 15,700 tonnes of green waste would be generated in the first year. But it seems nearer 10,000 tonnes, so instead of costing £57 to collect per tonne it is nearer £100. "The scheme so far is not generating as much green waste as the council predicted yet it still cannot get the stocking of bags sorted."Can you imagine a shop running out of stock when it was obvious how many customers there would be?"I'm also concerned the contracts we have do not provide value for money."After six months I plan to take the issue up through scrutiny panels if necessary."Elsewhere in the country there have been some good schemes on a small scale where local farmers have taken green waste and turned it into a useable material."I think this is something we should be taking forward in North Somerset to help diversification."The council's executive member for strategic planning and transport, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, said: "The reason the council has run out of bags is because it is a wonderfully popular service. I take this as a compliment. We estimated there would be 70,000 households needing a bag and ordered 100,000 but people have wanted more than one bag and we underestimated its popularity."The green bags are cheaper from India than anywhere else. The question is, would people prefer to pay £2 per bag from Europe or about 50p a bag?"As for using the green waste locally, I raised that idea several months ago and was told there were technical reasons why it was not possible. I am very pleased Cllr Roe and I are in agreement on it.