Labour allowed just one week for wider consultation on scrapping recycling collections for 138 city centre streets before publishing a Cabinet report which would confirm this proposal.
At the Neighbourhood Overview and Scrutiny Board at the end of April, councillors were told that this plan was just an ‘idea’ at this stage, and that it might be introduced as a ‘trial’. Some councillors welcomed the report, implying that it wasn’t possible to get people in some areas to understand how recycling was supposed to work. Others were unhappy about this two-tier approach to services and civic responsibility – especially as there was no information on how residents in these are would be able to participate in recycling once the kerbside services was withdrawn in October.
At that time Cabinet was expected to receive a report in June, but papers recently published for the Cabinet meeting in mid-May include this change – hidden within a report on charging for brown bins.
In the Council’s constitution it says:
Citizens have the right to… find out from the Forward Plan what key decisions will be taken by the Council Cabinet and when
This IS a key decision as it affects two or more wards. But it has not been published in the Council’s Forward Plan. It is not an urgent decision, as the proposed implementation date is not until October.
This totally inadequate report therefore:
- Does not allow for consultation with local people, even through Neighbourhood Boards or Forums
- Does not comply with the requirements of the Forward Plan
- Is silent on the provision of alternative recycling facilities
- Gives no opportunity to see it the new co-mingled recycling will ease problems in these areas
- Gives no time for people in these areas to react to the threat of this loss of service.
- Gives no alternatives to stopping recycling.
- Is silent on any legal implications, such as EU Regulations which expect municipalities to provide a kerbside collection of recyclable materials except in exceptional circumstances.
This is a show of incredible incompetence from an administration which purports to fight for the rights of ‘poor’ people, and says it cares for the environment.
I hope that the report will be withdrawn and serious alternatives are considered, including working with local community groups, other organisations (like the students’ union, schools, letting agencies and landlords) and individuals to enable people in these areas to continue to have a recycling service, which works for them.