Wrexham Council claims that the “time has come for us to introduce three-weekly collections” for black and blue bins, with the recently declared ‘climate emergency’ being used as part justification for the move.
The proposed move from fortnightly household collections comes as the local authority looks to make further cuts to services.
Back in July Council Leader Mark Pritchard warned that savings of around £10 million may have to be found over the next two years. This is in additional to £62 million of cuts have been made to local council services in the past 11 years – along with the loss of 600 full-time jobs.
Speaking over the summer Cllr Pritchard warned that a “tipping point” had been reached and that the council is “facing the most difficult time in its history”.
A consultation asking for public feedback on proposed cuts and potential revenue streams is now underway.
The concept of introducing three-weekly bin collections has been mooted during previous budget processes, including during last year’s Difficult Decisions. However the ruling administration later decided not to press ahead with the plans ‘for the time being’.
Over the summer it was announced that three-weekly collections were back on the cards and that the council would be looking to get the backing to introduce a charge for all households to have their green bins emptied. The latter was approved by executive board meetings at a special meeting in July.
In a prelude to the proposed changes to black and blue bin collections, the council have said, “We have worked hard to identify some additional savings, and given the financial position we’re in, we feel we have no choice but to do the following.
“You will be aware from last year’s budget consultation (and previous budget consultations) that we have been reviewing the way that we deal with waste across the county borough, for a number of years.
“Welsh Government guidance is that local authorities should look to move to monthly household waste collections (i.e. your black or blue bin), in order to increase the amount of waste we recycle, protect the environment and reduce costs. So far in Wales we haven’t seen any areas achieve this standard.
“However, a number of areas have moved to collection of this household bin once-every-three-weeks (as opposed to once a fortnight as we currently do here.)”
The council are using the recently declared ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’ as one of the reasons as to why “the time has come” for the introduction of three-weekly collections.
Last week saw all 52 councillors vote in favour of declaring such an emergency and builds on the councils “commitments to develop a decarbonisation Action Plan, which was unanimously agreed at full council in May 2019.”
The council directly link the climate pledge to reducing bin collections, stating that “due to an increased need to address environmental pressures, and deliver an efficient service the time has come for us to introduce three-weekly bin collections for your black/blue bins.”
Recycling and food waste would continue to be collected on a weekly basis and it is hoped that the change to “residual waste” will lead to an increase in recycling levels.
In a prelude to the bin change news, continues onto say that it is estimated that approximately 8 per cent of the council’s carbon emissions come from waste, and “therefore this is something we must address, and which contributes to our decarbonisation action-plan.”
It is estimated that along with reducing carbon emissions, the plans would reduce council costs by £47,000 per year.
Wrexham Council are asking for your views on the proposed move via the ‘Difficult Decisions’ consultation. As part of the consultation participants are invited to give their feedback on if the proposal will “impact your life in anyway” so that this can be considered when the council “implements our decisions”.
It also provides space for any alternative suggestions about refuse collection and disposal for the council to consider.
You can take part in the ‘Difficult Decisions’ consultation on the YourVoiceWrexham website until January 1st 2020.
The results of the process will then be taken into account ahead of the final decisions on the budget being made in February 2020.
*Pictured: The much missed Recycle with Michael, who we’re told is now in retirement and won’t be making a return to frontline services.
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