Bin changes followed by warnings of more cuts
Last updated at 11:28, Thursday, 04 October 2012
CONTROVERSIAL changes to bin collections in Copeland have been agreed – and residents warned that the most severe cuts are yet to come.
Copeland Council’s decision-making Executive this week rubber-stamped proposals for a major overhaul of its doorstep collections.
The shake-up, which will save the council £120,000, includes introducing communal roadside collection points for some ‘off-route’ homes and limiting garden waste collections to one brown bin per home.
However, council leader Elaine Woodburn revealed that the cuts to the waste service are minimal compared to those being made across the board which will be announced soon.
“We do not want to make this decision in any shape or form,” she said. “It will mean changes for people but, let’s be under no illusion, it is a minor change compared to what is coming. There are a lot more difficult decisions to come.”
Coun Allan Holliday added: “We are having to make decisions that none of us like due to the cuts that have been, and will continue to be, imposed on us by the government. The government has gone out of its way to hit local councils. We have made cuts already, and will unfortunately have to continue to do so.”
The proposals have been met with anger, particularly from residents of off-route homes who are critical of moves to introduce road-end collection points. Each off-route area will be assessed individually, the meeting heard, and changes to homes that take more than the one-minute average to collect phased in over the next 12 months.
Other proposals agreed include changing the criteria for families to be eligible for large bins; raising the threshold from five residents to six. This will also be phased in over the next 12 months. Plans to charge a one-off fee for families to have a large bin have been scrapped.
The brown bin limit will be imposed from November. However, plans to give free home compost bins to residents have been withdrawn.
Plans to modify the way the council collects waste from those who require assistance have also been agreed – having been welcomed by Copeland Disability Forum and South Copeland Disability Group. The level of help a resident gets will be agreed between themselves and the council after an assessment.
Coun George Clements said: “We need to make it clear that it’s not just those on benefits who will receive assisted collections; it’s in the policy that people ‘in exceptional circumstances’ can get assistance, so everyone who needs help will get it.”
The saving will be made, says the council, by changing the way it collects to allow it to remove one bin lorry from the road and redeploy its crew. All 33,000 households will undergo change in some form but the vast majority will only be an alteration to collection days (from November) as refuse lorries are re-routed.
Keith Parker, Copeland’s head of neighbourhoods, was asked if the consultation process, involving drop-in sessions and questionnaires sent to households, had been “as robust as possible”. He said: “It has been consistent with the size of our organisation and our resources.”
Mr Parker also put forward the views of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee that has fed into the process. He said: “It is strongly felt that we would not willingly wish to do this, but we have to deliver financial savings.”
Coun Woodburn added that it would “make sense” financially to have one Cumbria-wide collection service. However, she said that it is not feasible at this stage as other borough councils in the county are tied in to contracts of varying lengths with external service providers.
First published at 11:06, Thursday, 04 October 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
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It really is time to consider ending Copeland Council. Copeland and Allerdale are both small population wise. Would it not make more sense to merge them? Even merged it would still be a small population compared to other towns in England.
Dystopia in Copeland. If you don't agree with them you will not be listened to, you will be put down by humiliation. Hit the ones that are most likely to be Con/Libs and the weak and elderly to make the Government look bad.
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