Anger over three-weekly waste up­lift

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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.

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