Agenda item

POTENTIAL CHANGES TO WASTE SERVICES

To receive a presentation at the meeting from Doug Wilkinson, Director of Environment & Operational Services.

Minutes:

Councillor Levy introduced this item and mentioned that a report will be presented to Cabinet on 13 February 2019, on Potential Changes to Waste and Recycling Collections.

 

Doug Wilkinson, Director of Environment & Operational Services gave a presentation on the results of the feedback from the Consultation on the Waste Collection and Recycling service. 

 

He said the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 23 October 2018 had put forward suggestions/ comments in response to the Call-in on this consultation.

Doug said they had taken on board feedback from the OSC meeting and spoke of the drivers for change to the service including:

  • The target for council-wide savings and income generation for 2019/20 was £18m with a further £12m for 2020/21.
  • Futureproofing – planning to meet the Mayor’s London Environment Strategy for local authorities which includes the need to recycle 50% by 2025, and a requirement for separate food waste collection.
  • Waste disposal and recycling treatment costs to increase
  • Making the service better by the introduction of additional weekly collections for separate food waste, to increase recycling rates, possible potential to reinvest into street cleansing and fly tipping service
  • The funding from DCLG to retain weekly collections has now ceased.

 

Councillor Levy referred to one of the suggestions put forward by OSC in October that the document should reflect pros and cons of options from a user’s point of view.  Doug Wilkinson stated that in the consultation we had provided the public with  information that was known at the time.

 

The following points were highlighted:

  • The DCLG funding ends this year, so the incentive for weekly collections has gone
  • The consultation ran for 10 weeks from 29 October 2018 to 6 January 2019. A total of 5,602 responses received which represents 5.5% of kerbside properties. The feedback from residents is to help inform any changes and to help in the design of any new service.
  • The consultation was available on-line and hard copies were also available at libraries. Assistance was made available to complete details at all libraries, Civic Centre and John Wilkes House.  Background information was provided and there was proactive monitoring of responses to ensure it was available to all.
  • There was face to face engagement and the local press was used including ethnic press. Posters went out and a digital campaign ensured different mediums were changed for social media to maintain interest.  Also, street surveys/ targeted digital campaign, to increase responses in hard to reach areas.
  • A negative response was expected to any of the proposals as people tend to be resistant to change, however the negative comments were useful as these provided an opportunity to address these issues.

 

Findings from the consultation including:

  • Highest responses were from EN1 and EN2 postcode areas.
  • Highest responses from British group (63%), higher than borough profile of 42% 
  • Lowest responses from age group of 18 29 years old, highest responses from 60 years plus.
  • 89% of responses were those living in houses, 6% of responses were from those living in flats.
  •  97% of residents thought recycling was important and 63.5% recycled all or most of their food waste.
  • 25% thought it was reasonable to charge for garden waste collection or were not sure. Noted that garden waste collection is not a statutory service.
  • 66% of residents thought weekly food collections would have a positive impact or no impact on their household.
  • 42% of residents thought fortnightly dry recycling collections would have a positive or no impact on their household.
  • 28% of residents thought charging for fortnightly garden collections would have a positive or no impact on their household.
  • The highest response to proposals was to keep the current system (46%). Followed by response rates for Proposal 1 and Proposal 2.

Proposal 1 (31%) – for weekly collections for refuse, dry recycling and food and included a charge for fortnightly garden collection service.

Proposal 2 (31.5%) – for weekly refuse, fortnightly dry recycling and free fortnightly mixed food and garden waste.

 

The next step will be to analyse data, prepare a draft report and put forward recommendations to Cabinet on 13 February 2019.

 

The following comments and questions were raised:

 

  • Q. Councillor Smith said findings from the consultation showed that 46% of responses would prefer to keep the current system, will any notice be taken of this or will savings be steamrolled through?  

A. Responses to the consultation would be considered as part of the decisions to be made but from the beginning it had been noted that budget savings needed to be made.

 

  • Q: Councillor Smith asked about the Mayor’s London Environment Strategy (regarding the need for a separate food waste). Is this mandatory?

A: Jeremy Chambers answered that during the time of the consultation the Mayor’s Strategy is a final strategy and is not mandatory i.e it is not legally binding.

 

  • Confirmed that street surveys were undertaken in N9, N18 and EN3 areas.

 

  • Future decision would be made at Cabinet on 13 February 2019. It would be important to look carefully at the roll-out programme for changes to the service.

 

  • Communication is key and costs for these are to be included in options.

 

  • Councillor Needs was pleased that comments made by OSC had been considered, including the insertion of a box for residents to include their views and that communications for the east side of the borough had been pursued.

 

  • Councillor Aramaz noted that there appeared to be a lack of involvement of Turkish speakers in the community.  He offered his services to help with this in future, if necessary.

 

  • Councillor Laban mentioned that if the Cabinet were to make a decision that was not attuned to the Mayor’s London Environment Strategy then there would be a potential conflict, for the future.