De­bate on bin change

Logue tells spe­cial meet­ing er­rors will be rec­ti­fied

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Front Page - Ju­dith Ton­ner

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

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