Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

Ab­sorbent Hy­giene Prod­uct (AHP) re­cy­cling The coun­cil cur­rently sends its AHP prod­ucts to Nap­piCy­cle in Am­man­ford.

Group man­ager for street­works An­drew Hobbs told coun­cil­lors work was be­ing un­der­taken with the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to look at set­ting up a new AHP re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity closer to Brid­gend.

Com­mu­ni­ties direc­tor Mark Shephard said res­i­dents would also get to have their say over whether the coun­cil should con­tinue to run the ser­vice when the bud­get con­sul­ta­tion be­gins.

He said: “My per­sonal view is it’s not some­thing we would want to lose at all but the ques­tion is be­ing asked as there is a po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial sav­ing.

“If it was cut it would have an im­pact on our re­cy­cling and it may be in a cou­ple of years we would want to rein­tro­duce it to achieve the next re­cy­cling tar­get.” Wild­mill es­tate An ex­tra col­lec­tion day for re­cy­cled prod­ucts is tak­ing place on the Wild­mill es­tate in Brid­gend to help tackle waste and fly tip­ping is­sues around com­mu­nal bin ar­eas.

Ex­tra re­cy­cling bins have also been rolled out on the hous­ing es­tate. We­b­cams at Com­mu­nity Re­cy­cling Cen­tres We­b­cams are be­ing set up at re­cy­cling cen­tres in the county to al­low res­i­dents to check on­line be­fore they visit to see how busy it is at the cen­tre.

The first we­b­cam will soon go live at the Maesteg cen­tre and the Bryn­menyn one will fol­low.

Mr Shell said a tech­ni­cal is­sue with set­ting up a we­b­cam at the Tythegston cen­tre meant it would be too ex­pen­sive.

He said: “I think the we­b­cams will be re­ally use­ful for mem­bers of the pub­lic who want to go to a re­cy­cling cen­tre but they want to choose a qui­eter time so they can look on­line and see what’s go­ing on. We’ve been sent the first link for one of the sites so we will get it set up on the coun­cil web­site as soon as pos­si­ble.

“Due to the sub­stan­tial cost in­volved with Tythegston and the long- term view to move the cen­tre to a site in Pyle, it seems in­vest­ing the money for a we­b­cam would be a waste of money.” Polystyrene Kier says it in dis­cus­sions with an­other sup­plier to re­cy­cle polystyrene back into reusable pack­ag­ing. Use of Welsh lan­guage in the call cen­tre Coun­cil­lor Gareth How­ells asked about the pro­vi­sion of cus­tomer ser­vice calls in the Welsh lan­guage.

Kier uses a sep­a­rate Welsh lan­guage call cen­tre to its one in Torquay for Welsh speak­ers.

Mr Akhtar said there were no calls made in Welsh last month and at its high­est level, around five or six calls were made in Welsh. Cal­en­dars with ‘wrong’ col­lec­tion dates for gar­den waste Coun­cil­lor No­rah Clarke said there was an is­sue with Kier not get­ting the right col­lec­tion dates which left cal­en­dars be­ing sent out with the wrong date and the com­pany then hav­ing to send out cor­rec­tions.

The Not­tage ward coun­cil­lor said: “I have found, es­pe­cially in Porth­cawl, that res­i­dents were given cal­en­dars say­ing gar­den waste would be col­lected on a cer­tain day and then an­other cal­en­dar came out a week later be­cause the days were wrong.

“Some peo­ple didn’t get the sec­ond no­ti­fi­ca­tion so the waste was go­ing out on the first day in­stead of the right day and that seemed to go on for weeks and weeks.”

Mr Akhtar said that as gar­den waste was an opt-in ser­vice Kier could not be sure what the up­take would be be­fore it be­gan.

He said: “Ini­tially we base the data on how many cus­tomers we have and that needs to be re­bal­anced if we have more cus­tomers sign up.

“Last year I think we left it a bit too late, the let­ters didn’t go out un­til Fe­bru­ary.

“This year we will get them out in Novem­ber which should mean by Jan­uary we will have the bulk of the cus­tomers signed up and we can plan the rounds ac­cord­ingly.” From sec­ond worst in Wales to sec­ond best When the Kier con­tract be­gan in June 2017 the new ser­vice was de­scribed as caus­ing “chaos” with large num­bers of missed rub­bish and re­cy­cling col­lec­tions which led to waste, in­clud­ing bags of nap­pies, sit­ting on kerb­sides for weeks.

The new changes left house­hold­ers lim­ited to two rub­bish bags per fort­night and us­ing dif­fer­ent- coloured sacks for card­board, pa­per, and plas­tics as well as cad­dies for glass and food waste and pur­ple bags for nap­pies.

But the new ap­proach to waste col­lec­tion has re­sulted in the county bor­ough’s an­nual re­cy­cling rate soar­ing from 58% in 2016-17 to 68.5% for 2017-18. It has gone from be­ing the sec­ond worst lo­cal au­thor­ity in Wales for re­cy­cling to be­ing the sec­ond best in un­der a year.

Speak­ing at the over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee meet­ing on Mon­day Septem­ber 17, cabi­net mem­ber for com­mu­ni­ties Richard Young said there had been “a de­gree of ex­treme crit­i­cism” at the start of the con­tract but there was “no doubt” the ser­vice had got bet­ter.

He said: “The start was un­for­tu­nate, we worked through it and it has taken the co­op­er­a­tion of Kier, of­fi­cers and coun­cil­lors.”

Kier hit with ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ fi­nan­cial penal­ties

Com­mu­ni­ties direc­tor Mark Shephard said Kier had been fined a “sig­nif­i­cant” amount by the coun­cil for fail­ing to meet con­trac­tual ex­pec­ta­tions such as missed col­lec­tions.

He said: “We’ve been ad­vised by our le­gal team that we can’t dis­cuss the amount as it is com­mer­cially sen­si­tive.

“The fi­nan­cial penal­ties were mainly ap­plied very early on in the con­tract, they’ve man­aged to re­duce the prob­lem.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port which went be­fore coun­cil­lors the fines are based on a points-based sys­tem, for ex­am­ple a missed col­lec­tion is two points and a late con­tainer or sack de­liv­ery is five points with points mul­ti­ply­ing for each ad­di­tional day.

In year one of the con­tract al­most 425,000 points were cal­cu­lated. The num­ber cur­rently is around 9,100 points a month which is de­creas­ing. Man­age­ment change The coun­cil’s head of neigh­bour­hood ser­vices Zak Shell said the prob­lems were ex­ac­er­bated in the first year of the new ser­vice due to the series of suc­ces­sive in­terim man­age­ment ar­range­ments at Kier.

He said: “Since em­ploy­ing the lo­cal man­ager from within the bor­ough it has very much helped speed­ing up the process of set­tling the con­tract.

“Putting Scott Saun­ders in place and the team which he now has be­hind him has im­proved things markedly.”

Kier re­gional man­ager Maz Akhtar said over 50% of the man­age­ment team in the Brid­gend de­pot had changed in re­cent months.

He said: “The new team has been ex­cel­lent, they’ve de­liv­ered sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments and con­tinue to do so on an al­most daily ba­sis.” ‘Huge’ im­prove­ments Coun­cil leader Huw David said he had been one of the first to crit­i­cise Kier but there had since been “huge im­prove­ments”.

He thanked res­i­dents in the county for “em­brac­ing” the ser­vice say­ing its suc­cess was down to them.

He added: “The year we were in­tro­duc­ing the new ser­vice we just missed our re­cy­cling tar­get and we could have re­ceived a fine from Welsh Gov­ern­ment

“I had to ex­plain to the Min­ster for the En­vi­ron­ment we were in­tro­duc­ing the ser­vice and that was the only rea­son we did not get fined.

“We also know if we are to pro­tect our en­vi­ron­ment and save the planet we have all got to do do things dif­fer­ently and re­cy­cling is a very im­por­tant part of that.”

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