Council leader says sorry for bins fiasco
Botched roll-out has been branded a mess
The leader of North Lanarkshire Council has apologised to residents adversely affected by the botched roll-out of a new waste collection scheme.
At a special meeting of the local authority on Friday, Jim Logue apologised to the “10 per cent” of households who were failed by the project.
He said: “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.
“We got it right for 90 per cent [of households] – for the 10 per cent for whom we didn’t get it right, as the leader of the council, I apologise.
“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 had called Friday’s assembly at the Civic Centre to demand the publication of a report within two weeks outlining answers to more than a dozen questions in relation to the bin system.
However, Labour and Conservative members noted that many answers were contained 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 instead passed by 37 votes to 29.
Councillor Logue said: “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 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 are entitled to know why this was rushed through.
“The result has been stress for council workers and upset for residents and we support the work done by cleansing employees in this difficult time.”
Group leader David Stocks added: “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 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.
“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 pullouts in the first three weeks of the service.
The Conservative amendment agreed by councillors praised the efforts of waste solutions staff and “recognised there have been operational difficulties which are currently being addressed” and that support be provided to the service.
Business manager Sandy Watson said: “Several points on the motion are already covered and a report in 14 days is unrealistic – six months gives more time for reflection.” Logue
Concernmany residents have been angry about the new waste collection scheme. Inset, SNP group leader David Stocks
Under firenorth Lanarkshire Council’s new waste collection scheme
Council leader Jim Logue