Councillor slams changes to bin collections as ‘disastrous’
Last updated at 11:24, Thursday, 15 August 2013
DRASTIC cuts to Copeland’s off-route bin collections have been “disastrous”, claims an angry borough councillor.
Yvonne Clarkson says constituents in her Beckermet ward feel they are losing out on vital services as a result of the “Draconian” measures Copeland implemented regarding waste services.
She raised the concerns at a meeting last week where councillors were updated on the recent changes to bin collections.
The cutting of off-route collections are part of a long list of changes made to waste services in a bid to save £120,000. The council has saved about £25,000 so far.
It is part of an ongoing programme of cuts that the council has imposed, in a bid to save around £3m of savings by 2015, after having its funding cut by central government.
Changes have included the loss of one collection vehicle and crew, new waste collection calendars and standardising garden waste (brown) collection bins to one per property.
Coun Clarkson said while many of the measures have been a success, some residents, particularly in rural areas, feel they are getting the “rough end of the deal”.
She said minimising off-route collections means some people have to walk long distances to their nearest bin collection points, including one man who has to move his bins two miles along a grass verge to have them collected.
Coun Clarkson condemned the changes, saying they were more severe than what councillors initially agreed to and they discriminate against people who are elderly or disabled.
She said: “The council has imposed very Draconian procedures. We have gone further than anybody assumed. People don’t feel they are getting a fair deal.
“My telephone has not stopped ringing about this. It’s getting quieter now because people are lying down and accepting it but they are not happy about it, particularly when we go further than the report and further than what the Executive agreed on. It’s disastrous.”
However, Keith Parker, Copeland’s head of neighbourhoods, denied any maladministration by the council. He said members of the public, along with numerous groups including the Copeland Disability Forum and South Copeland Disability Group, were consulted before any decisions on cuts to waste services were made.
He added that borough councils around the county have used different criteria for off-route collections. In Copeland, it refers to a vehicle leaving the public highway and going back on to it to continue the route.
Coun Clarkson added that residents have praised the refuse collectors for their hard work, but it is the measures that have been imposed that they remain unhappy about.
During a presentation by council officers, councillors heard that since the changes were introduced in November, two formal complaints have been put to Copeland Council.
Councillors were told the average bin collection takes around 20 seconds to complete. This is based on 33,000 properties and a five-and-a-half hour productive day.
Services like the assisted bin scheme, off-route collections and using large bins all increase the time crews spend on collecting waste, which is why measures have been put in place for the council to be more stringent in the way it delivers services.
Councillors were concerned that although savings are being made, Copeland is suffering the effects of the drastic cuts.
Geoff Garrity said: “I don’t want any more cuts. I don’t want them but we have to find them. We should be talking to this government to say we don’t want any more cuts. Enough is enough. Something has to be done.”
And John Kane said: “We are only now seeing the impact of decisions made at some of the policy development groups (PDG) last year. Some of the decisions we made as PDGs might not have been right. We need to go back and review them.”
He added: “I have concerns about going into another round of cuts when we’re only starting to see the impact of the cuts agreed for last year.”
First published at 11:21, Thursday, 15 August 2013
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
Who is Keith Parker? I do not appear to be able to find him on the list of ELECTED representatives. It appears that the councillors at CBC are allowing thier employees, who are public servants, to rule the roost. Tail wagging dog perhaps, Come on councillors, reign these people in back to thier proper position i.e doing as the elected representavives tell them not making public statements off thier own back.
Hmm well I'm afraid Keith Parker is rather disingenuous. It is true that residents were informed by post, and that there were a handful of forums to raise objections; but this was a futile exercise designed for Parker to say, 'the residents were informed'. There was no opportunity to discuss reasons, offer alternatives or make suggestions. Especially the one that has been raised many times, if there is enough money for a non job like Head of Neighbourhoods, there is enough to collect the bins. Coincidentally Mr Parker isn't affected by the changes as he is a not resident in Copeland.