SEPA did not advise council
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.’