City bins ser­vice ‘still cat­a­strophic’ af­ter strike ended Coun­cil over­spends as it misses its tar­gets

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

BIRM­ING­HAM’S bins and re­cy­cling ser­vice re­mains in a ‘cat­a­strophic’ state months af­ter the strike ended, it has been claimed.

A string of per­for­mance fig­ures pre­sented to the city’s Labour cab­i­net showed a se­ries of missed tar­gets and that the ser­vice had over­spent its an­nual bud­get by 22 per cent. Other fig­ures re­vealed: The city’s re­cy­cling rate re­mains a low 23 per cent, against a 31 per cent tar­get, in part blamed on a sus­pen­sion of re­cy­cling dur­ing the strike.

15 per cent of waste is sent to land­fill due to prob­lems with the Ty­se­ley in­cin­er­a­tor – the coun­cil had been aim­ing to cut this to 10 per cent.

Even af­ter the strike ended the city has av­er­aged 79 missed bin col­lec­tions per 100,000 against a tar­get of 52. Se­vere dis­rup­tion due to snow in De­cem­ber was blamed on the prob­lem.

The cab­i­net was also told the bud­get was over­spent by £12.3 mil­lion, in part due to an in­crease in land­fill tax, catchup waste col­lec­tions, de­lays in bring­ing in sav­ings, as well as the £6.6 mil­lion cost of the dis­pute re­ported late last year.

Lib Dem group leader Jon Hunt said: “We had a huge prob­lem last au­tumn when there was nei­ther a bin strike nor heavy snow. Re­cy­cling rates stayed low, missed col­lec­tions were still high and the level of waste go­ing to land­fill stayed high.

“We have a cat­a­strophic un­der per­for­mance in the ser­vice.”

He said that with a ma­jor over­haul of the ser­vice due in April he was won­der­ing whether res­i­dents would see an im­prove­ment.

Labour’s Ian Ward, who took over as coun­cil leader in the midst of the bins dis­pute, re­sponded: “There have been is­sues with the waste col­lec­tion ser­vice over the last 12 months but there are now pro­pos­als to im­prove the per­for­mance and in­deed to im­prove re­cy­cling rates and it is very much the ex­pec­ta­tion of this cab­i­net that those plans will come to fruition.”

Labour Coun­cil deputy leader Brigid Jones added that 71 per cent of per­for­mance tar­gets across the full range of coun­cil ser­vices are be­ing met de­spite fund­ing cuts from Gov­ern­ment.

> Lib Dem group leader Coun­cil­lor Jon Hunt crit­i­cised the ser­vice

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