Debate on bin change
Logue tells special meeting errors will be rectified
Council leader Jim Logue apologised for transitional difficulties of the new threeweekly bin cycle at a special meeting on the subject.
SNP members criticised the administration’s “rushed” timescale – while all parties praised the continuing efforts of front-line staff working to implement the changes.
Council leader Jim Logue has said sorry to residents adversely affected by the roll-out of a controversial bin collection scheme.
At a special meeting of the local authority on Friday the Airdrie Central representative apologised to the “10 per cent” of households who’ve been failed by the project.
Councillor Logue said: “We got it right for 90 per cent [of households] – for the 10 per cent for whom we didn’t, as the leader of the council, I apologise.
“What we’re attempting has been implemented in 27 out of 32 councils, to comply with Zero Waste Scotland targets – and every local authority who has implemented this has had transitional difficulties.
“Did anybody ever envisage that we could get it absolutely right at the start for every house in every community; no. Where there have been difficulties, I offer an apology.
“North Lanarkshire is the fourthlargest local authority in Scotland, with 120,000 households and four bins to a house – that’s nearly half a million bins. For those where we didn’t get it right, we will over the next few weeks.”
SNP members are criticising the administration’s “rushed” timetable and called Friday’s assembly to demand the publication of a report within two weeks outlining answers to more than a dozen questions about the new system.
Councillors from all parties praised the “tremendous” efforts of frontline staff. Labour and Conservative members noted that many of the SNP’s questions were answered in papers for today’s infrastructure committee meeting – and a Conservative amendment requesting a full update in six months on the scheme’s rollout was passed instead by 37 votes to 29.
Mr Logue added: “I’m really disappointed that anyone would politicise operational issues. My main focus is driving up recycling rates, and we need a collective community approach and to acknowledge the tremendous work by all staff.”
The SNP’s motion was led by infrastructure spokesperson Tracy Carragher, the Coatbridge South councillor, who said: “We all support meeting recycling targets; – the issues have arisen due to the absence of a public consultation.
“We’d then have known how many bins people needed and had enough time to get bins and food bags to everyone. They’re entitled to know why this was rushed through.
“The result has been stressful for council bin workers and upseting for residents and we support the work done by cleansing employees in this difficult time; they’ve gone above and beyond in answering calls at all hours and resolving issues.”
Group leader David Stocks said: “We don’t disagree with recycling. Had the consultation been granted, we wouldn’t have been talking problems with the service, bins, green bags, calendars, or the call centre.
“I’m glad Jim Logue apologised to the public; it should have been done by every Labour and Tory member. They rushed in headlong and created a month-long shambles for residents; now they jointly wish to sweep it all under the carpet.
“They must answer for the shortfall of 7000 bins and 40,000 over-zealous bin taggings. There was a 700 per cent increase in complaint calls to the council, with 10,000 on day one.”
The infrastructure report notes that the 23,000 new bins requested are expected to be in place in the next two weeks; while there were 984 requests for nappy bins.
It also notes 2485 missed bin complaints and 1317 missed pull-outs in the first three weeks of the service, and the report said of the latter: “Action has now been taken to address this issue [which] affects one of the most vulnerable groups.”
The Conservative amendment agreed by councillors praised the efforts of waste solutions staff, “recognised there have been operational difficulties which are currently being addressed” and that support be provided to the service.
Business manager Sandy Watson, the Airdrie South councillor, said: “Several points on the motion are already covered and a report in 14 days is unrealistic – six months gives more time for reflection.
“Waste solutions colleagues have put great deal of sterling work into this operation in very difficult circumstances, and we should be very supportive of them.”
Group leader Meghan Gallacher added: “This was something everyone supported in principle; we need to work together and rally round where there are issues to be fixed. This issue is bigger than party politics.”
I’m sorry Council leader Jim Logue has vowed to resolve bin issues
Issues Councillor Tracy Carragher