Response to Labour criticism of bin delays

Response to Labour criticism of bin delays

We won’t take any lessons from Labour on bin collections.  When the Conservatives took control of the Council in 2019, the waste and recycling collection service was inefficient andunreliable with abysmally low recycling rates.  We had to literally clear up Labour’s mess.

We reorganised the service and introduced proper recycling bins for paper, card, cans, bottles and plastics, with a wider range of plastics collected and more recycling capacity forhouseholds.  The new bins replaced Labour’s dreadful box system which allowed rubbish to blow all over our streets.  The new system is very popular and has resulted in a major increase in recycling rates.

The new arrangements have work very well with high levels of public satisfaction, minimal numbers of missed bins and very few delays, until the last couple of weeks.  I want to thank the workforce who have helped deliver the improvements and have, until now, worked reliably and efficiently.  People will remember how they kept the system running like clockwork during the Covid-19 pandemic when other councils’ waste collection services were badly disrupted.

However, over the past couple of weeks, many of the loading staff (those who put the bins on the back of the wagons) have unexpectedly changed their well-established working practices without notifying the council.  This has resulted in slower collection times and delays in the service.  There is an imminent meeting with the Trade Unions to discuss the current issues.

Whist I would emphasise that some loading staff are still working normally, we are considering our options in relation to those staff who are not working in the normal way.  As a matter of urgency, we are drawing up contingency plans in case there is no quick resolution.

Over the past four years, Councillor Stewart Swinburn, the cabinet member responsible for waste and recycling collections, has done a fantastic job overseeing our major service improvements, and continues to work tirelessly to resolve the current short-term difficulties.

As a Conservative administration, we have adopted a common-sense approach to running and improving local services, with a “what works best” approach.  However, our prime responsibility is to the people of North East Lincolnshire and ensuring that they have a reliable and efficient waste and recycling service.  If the current service continues to be disrupted, we won’t hesitate to look at alternatives ways of providing it.

Turning now to Labour’s five-point plan:

• There is already a weekly bin collection, whether it be domestic waste, garden waste or dry recycling.

• There has been no failure in the garden waste service.  This continues to be collected every two weeks.  Only dry recycling collections have been temporarily suspended.

• We continue to look at improvements in technology that could streamline the service and improve communication with households.

• The workforce is already back up to full strength.

• If genuinely missed bins are reported promptly, they are currently collected within 24 hours.

Just like pre-2019, it is clear that Labour has no real idea how to deliver our waste and recycling services.

Councillor Philip Jackson, Conservative Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council – 4.8.23

Image from NELC.

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