Leader ad­mits re­think on refuse

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Thom­son

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.”

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