Coun­cil leader says sorry for bins fi­asco

Botched roll-out has been branded a mess

Hamilton Advertiser - - INTIMATIONS - Staff re­porter

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

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