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Lib Dem Councillors raise residents concerns over twin bin move

August 7, 2007 3:58 PM

Press release from Councillor Colin Strong the Leader of the Opposition on Spelthorne Council concerning the changes to rubbish collection and the move to alternate weekly collection.

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Angry residents who went to a Council scrutiny "call-in" meeting about the looming change to waste collection from weekly to fortnightly were disappointed from the outset. Their biggest concern, the fortnightly collection of food waste, was ruled out by the Tories as a topic for discussion.

The meeting, which took place on 2nd August, was requested by the Lib Dems who are increasingly worried by the way the project has been handled.

Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Colin Strong explained "We are not in principle against the Alternate Weekly Collection (AWC) of dry recyclables and residual waste, but recent research confirms what we have been saying all along: AWC must be accompanied by the weekly collection of food waste. We have become increasingly alarmed at the way the Conservatives have bulldozed the project through with no public consultation."

The "call-in" meeting revealed that the delivery of the bins starts on August 6th and households across Spelthorne will receive little or no warning of when the two bins actually arrive. Residents who cannot manage the large bins will have to wait until January to get smaller bins and no thought has been given to the problem of food waste.

Cllr Colin Strong said "I have said all along that excellent customer care is vital. Residents should not have to wait until after Christmas if they want smaller bins. The Tories have dictated an initial 'one size fits all' policy. That is clearly wrong."

Cllr Caroline Nichols added "At the scrutiny meeting we asked for a copy of the bin delivery schedule. Councillors were told that it was not finalised and therefore we could not see a copy. I have now found out that my ward is first in the line for the bin delivery - just as the bins are being delivered. I am already getting phone calls from irate residents who want the smaller bins but are being delivered the larger ones. This is unacceptable."

There is still uncertainty surrounding 5,000 or more properties, including flats, which may not be suitable for the new collection scheme. It is still not known which homes are permanently unsuitable for the new bins. For flats which can take other types of recycling bins the indication is early 2008 but no firm timetable has been given.

Cllr Ian Beardsmore said "It is quite depressing for the people of Spelthorne that the Tory councillors squandered the opportunity to find out more about the controversial roll-out of bins. The Tories instead spent the entire meeting attacking Liberal Democrats who were only trying to reflect the concerns of local residents."