Fortnightly collections - a rubbish idea or not?

THE man who is responsible for North Somerset's rubbish failed to give the public any answers on the unitary authority's proposals for waste collection this week. The Weston & Somerset Mercury approached executive member for environment, Carl Francis-Pest

THE man who is responsible for North Somerset's rubbish failed to give the public any answers on the unitary authority's proposals for waste collection this week.The Weston & Somerset Mercury approached executive member for environment, Carl Francis-Pester, with questions following last week's front page story.A reporter phoned Councillor Francis-Pester three times, speaking to him once and sent him an email but he has decided not to answer the paper's queries.Last week the Mercury exclusively revealed how North Somerset Council is considering drastic measures, including fortnightly rubbish collections, from 2010 onwards.The information was contained within a report represented by the unitary authority's director of development and environment, David Turner, at a meeting of the environmental services policy and scrutiny panel last week.After last week's front page story North Somerset Council's deputy leader, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, phoned the Mercury to say fortnightly collections would not be introduced. But the Mercury also contacted the panel's chairman, Councillor Deborah Yamanaka this week, who said the drastic measure is possible from 2010.She said they have now set up a working group to see what to do about the unitary authority's waste strategy from 2010 onwards.She said: "In terms of decisions, last week's meeting was not particularly exciting."Any responsible councillor would know that fortnightly collections are an option and are openly being considered."Cllr Francis-Pester was this week approached with the following questions, which he failed to answer:At the environmental services policy and scrutiny panel last week a working group was set up to consider the waste contracts for 2010 onwards.Will this group consider the options contained in Mr Turner's report to the panel to:* Reduce the frequency of refuse collections to fortnightly while potentially increasing the frequency of collections of materials for recycling?* Charge for collection services by weight?* Limit the amount of black bag waste collected on each visit with concessions only for larger households or during bank holiday and Christmas periods?* Insist on separation of materials for recycling or composting using statutory powers? * If not what options will the group be looking into?* What time-scale is there for the working group to present its recommendations to you as executive member?* Panel chairman Deborah Yamanaka says fortnightly collections are a possibility from 2010 onwards. Do you agree this is the case?* At the last count, North Somerset was ranked 11 out of 15 local authorities for the amount it recycles. Where does it currently stand?* What will the council do to improve this position?* The local authority has to cut the amount of biodegradable waste it sends to landfill sites by more than a third by April 2010.How much will it be fined if it does not?* Where will this money come from?* The Weston & Somerset Mercury understands there are plans afoot for a new civic amenities site over the next few years.Where will this be, how much will it cost and what will it be used for?As the Mercury went to press yesterday (Wed) there had still been no response from Councillor Francis-Pester.Tell us YOUR views.E-mail us on: newsdesk@thewestonmercury.co.ukOR visit our website:


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