Anger over three-weekly waste uplift
THERE has been a furious response to the news that general waste bins in Argyll are to be emptied once every three weeks and as late as 10pm at night.
At a meeting of the full council in Kilmory last Thursday, Argyll and Bute councillors made the decision to reduce general waste collections from every two weeks to three as part of cost-saving measures due to be implemented as soon as possible.
Recycling collections will continued to be uplifted every two weeks.
The news has been met with anger and disbelief by householders who are now demanding the council thinks again.
While three-weekly collections will mean almost £ 500,000 a year in savings for the local authority, members of the public are outraged at the plan, saying it will increase vermin, smells and lead to an increase in flytipping.
Discussions are ongoing with trade unions about the changes to council workers’ shift patterns, but if agreed it will mean that Oban, North and Lorn has two refuge shifts – 6am until 2pm, and 2pm until 10pm. A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said there would be no reduction in refuse staff in the Oban and Lorn area.
She added: ‘We have a fleet of refuse collection vehicles that operate across Argyll and Bute and deploy them as and where required. This option enables us to reduce the number of vehicles overall but we retain the flexibility and resilience to deal with operational requirements.’
The council said it had consulted residents on the proposals through its Service Choices consultation held last winter.
Council papers show there are different refuse uplifts in each of the council’s four areas.
In Helensburgh and Lomond, where there is a larger population, there is an enhanced glass and food waste recycling service, while in the Oban area there is general waste and paper and plastic recycling. On some islands there is glass recycling.
The council currently commits 30,000 tonnes of waste to landfill every year.
The council spokeswoman added: ‘This is a time of unprecedented challenge for local government. Drastically reduced funding means we have to save more than £10 million in 2016/17 alone. This means we can’t do everything we would like to do for our communities.
‘As a result we are making changes to the way our refuse and recycling collections are carried out. By recycling more, people will free up more space in their general bin. This in turn will save money for council services in the future. For every tonne of waste we put to landfill we have to pay a tax of around £80. This is money which could be spent on essential public services, as well as helping to save the planet’s natural resources, save energy and reduce the effects of climate change.’
The council spokeswoman confirmed that while it was reducing general waste collections it was not signing up to the Household Recycling Charter and Code of Practice, adopted by other local authorities.
The spokeswoman said: ‘While we support the principles of the charter, Argyll and Bute is a diverse and rural area and we have to do what is right for our communities.
‘The council is committed to increasing recycling. An analysis carried out earlier this year in Argyll and Bute shows that approximately 40 per cent of what people are putting in their general waste bins can be recycled.
‘The council wants to change that. Environmental wardens will be available to provide advice on how householders can increase the amount of material that can be recycled.
‘If required, additional capacity will be available for families with children in nappies, those with medical needs and families of five or more.’
For Oban Times readers’ reaction see inside on pages eight and 10, or visit our Facebook page.