SEPA did not ad­vise coun­cil

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

WHETHER Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil made ap­pro­pri­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency prior to in­tro­duc­ing three-weekly bin col­lec­tions is un­der scru­tiny.

Dou­glas Tott, a ‘con­cerned tax­payer’ from Is­lay, says he has de­tails from a Freedom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest that proves the coun­cil did not ask for ad­vice be­fore the scheme was in­tro­duced.

How­ever, the coun­cil has out­lined the in­put of SEPA into its de­ci­sion to in­crease the length of times be­tween bins be­ing col­lected.

Last Thurs­day, in a meet­ing about bins in Soroba, Jim Smith, the head of amenity ser­vices with Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, said: ‘[In re­gard to rats at Soroba and whether ad­vice had been sought], we took ad­vice from SEPA and en­vi­ron­men­tal health.’

How­ever, SEPA told Mr Tott it had not been con­sulted.The Freedom of In­for­ma­tion re­sponse said its lo­cal op­er­a­tions team ad­vised: ‘1: SEPA was not con­sulted for­mally by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, 2. If we had been, we would have re­ferred them to their own En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Depart­ment for a com­ment about pub­lic health risks as­so­ci­ated with their re­vised refuse col­lec­tion sched­ule and 3. SEPA would not and has not pro­vided ad­vice to the coun­cil on this mat­ter.’

How­ever, a spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil was adamant that SEPA had been con­tacted for ad­vice.

He said: ‘When we were propos­ing the move to the three-weekly model for refuse and re­cy­cling, our of­fi­cers con­sulted with col­leagues at the Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency in­for­mally on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions.’

Mr Tott said: ‘I trust that this FOI in­for­ma­tion will be pub­lished in this Thurs­day’s Oban Times plus a full ex­pla­na­tion from the bosses at the coun­cil ex­plain­ing from whom they re­ceived the “ex­pert” SEPA ad­vice stat­ing that it was safe to in­tro­duce a three-weekly gen­eral waste col­lec­tion ser­vice pro­vid­ing the bin lids were kept closed.’

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