Leader admits rethink on refuse
Council leader Jim Logue has been blasted for breaking an election pledge after it was announced general waste bins are set to be uplifted every three weeks from the autumn.
Before May’s council elections, Councillor Logue vowed that if Labour were re-elected there would be no change to waste management cycles. But in an embarrassing climbdown for the Labour leader, the bins will be emptied every three weeks – leading to residents’ fears of an upsurge in rodent infestations and fly tipping.
Councillor Logue described a report in the Wishaw Press in March that the three-weekly collections were set to be introduced in the autumn as “incorrect” and “would not happen”.
In a statement issued after we broke the story and before the election, Councillor Logue said: “There has never been a proposal to change waste management cycles and, as such, any suggestion that collections are due to change to three-weekly are incorrect.
“This is not happening, full stop. If re-elected, Labour will make sure bins are collected on the same cycles as they are at present.”
But only a month after the election, Councillor Logue has been accused of a massive U-turn.
SNP MSP Alex Neil said: “It appears that Labour have backtracked on another promise and deceived voters. The excuse being used by the LabourTory administration is not good enough, with other councils across Scotland meeting national Zero Waste plan targets while not resorting to cutting basic waste services. It is simply incompetence.”
The new plan, put before the council’s policy and resources committee last week, is aimed at saving the council £670,000 each year and helping to reduce the number of tonnes of residual waste.
Councillor Logue backed the changes despite the election promise that a new Labour administration would not introduce a three-week uplift schedule.
He said: “I believe we have little choice but to change our waste collections if we are going to meet the national targets set out in the Zero Waste plan. We need to invest in our recycling centres to improve the service there and, inevitably, we require to save money.
“While I had a strong view about residual waste bins being collected every three weeks based on a previous report from some time ago, this report sets out exactly why that has to be done now.
“In simple terms, if every householder recycles everything that can be recycled then they won’t have much to put in their residual bin.”
The new scheme will see a reduction in the number of bins collected and a change in what goes into them.
Food and garden waste would be collected in a single bin, collected fortnightly. Other bins for paper and card, glass, metal and plastic, and residual waste would be collected every three weeks starting from the autumn .
An SNP call for a public consultation before starting new bin collection schemes has been blocked.
The SNP move was defeated 12- 6 at the policy and resources committee with one Independent, councillor Alan Beveridge, voting with the SNP, while all three Tory councillors, Motherwell West Meghan Gallagher, Wishaw councillor Bob Burgess and Airdrie South councillor Sandy Watson, backed Labour.
SNP group leader David Stocks said: “This council agreed to hold a public consultation on wheelie bin changes back in 2015. This promise has been blatantly ignored.
“North Lanarkshire residents are being treated with contempt by the Labour Party and their Tory backers.”
Shotts MP Neil Gray hit out at the proposed changes. He said: “This all about Labour trying to save money to make up for its own mismanagement in previous administrations.”
Vox Pop – Wishaw residents on the rubbish collection service
Alex Neil “It appears that Labour have backtracked on another promise and deceived voters.”
Jim Logue “Any suggestion that collections are due to change to three-weekly are incorrect.”