Friday, January 27, 2012

Not a Dunn Deal

There seems to be a lot of cynicism out here on Public Consultations and specifically Redbridge Conversations on the Council’s proposed budgets. One such suggestion is that the council deliberately include contentious items in their initial proposals so that they can take them out when there is a fuss and make it look like they are listening.

Of course we realise that the Coalition government are cutting their grant and that some tough decisions have to be made. You can’t spend what you haven’t got. So, the consultation is out and is currently doing the rounds of Area Committees and on Wednesday 25th we had the pleasure of Cllr Mrs Dunn’s company at Area 3 to answer questions and we were assured that the proposed budget is not a Dunn deal. She is the cabinet member for Highways (which includes waste and recycling – don’t ask!).


The big issue raised was the proposed reduction of the Green Waste kerbside summer (April to October) collection service from weekly to fortnightly. There was a good debate with some interesting points made.

Firstly, there is currently a working party, chaired by Cllr Paul Canal, in progress looking at the whole question of waste and recycling and how we can reduce the costs of this. The council pay £128 for every tonne sent to landfill and £98 for every tonne of recycling. It would seem prudent to wait for the results of this exercise before making any rash decisions on Green waste collection.

Secondly, when the service was introduced it was completely overwhelmed. It is very popular. And when it went from fortnightly to weekly the take-up of the service and tonnage shot up again, as was the case when the general kerbside recycling scheme went from fortnightly to weekly and also when cardboard recycling was introduced. The big question is what was happening to all this green waste before? And the answer is it was being put out in the general waste and going to landfill costing the taxpayer £128 per tonne instead of £98 per tonne. So, we don’t want to go back to that do we? There is a distinct possibility that such a move could be counter-productive and cost us more in the long term. And it also sends out completely the wrong message on waste.

Area Committee 3 voiced their disapproval on this item in the budget as did Area Committee 1 last Monday. Cllr Mrs Dunn did seem to be listening and I am quite hopeful that this will not happen.

Now, my view is that a significant amount of this green waste material really ought to be home composted meaning that it does not enter the council’s waste stream in the first place and therefore doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything. There will still be a need, though, because not all green waste is suitable for home composting. But I’m afraid that if residents don’t want to compost there’s not a lot we can do about it. If you want to give it a try you can get discounted compost bins from here.

What also struck me at the same meeting is this. The cost saving for reducing the Green waste collection service to fortnightly is put at £50,000 - a service that covers the whole borough, 5 working days a week and for 7 months of the year. At the same meeting £15,000 (just under a third of that) was earmaked for hanging baskets in Barkingside and Hainault and a scheme to put bollards at Fullwell Parade was costed at £22,000 (just under half). It seems to me that some council contracts need to be examined more than others because some of them look like a complete rip-off. Perhaps Area 3 should ask the New Fairlop Oak who does their award winning hanging baskets and how much they cost? Or better still, let the contract to Wetherspoons. I’ll bet my boots it’ll be cheaper than whatever the council can come up with.

15 comments:

  1. The Paul Canal survey is well written and makes you feel hopeful that your ideas might be taken into consideration.
    The Redbridge Conversation is so very complex that I gave up, again! Could not be bothered last year either!
    When the Green Waste collection was created, people were delighted. Now, it was created recently so saving money must have been in the Council philosophy. Was the costing inaccurate and there were no savings?
    If this is not the case, why on earth destroy a money savvy green policy which made people happy?
    annesevant

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  2. For god sakes, the green collecton is the best thing that has happened since sliced bread! I have lived in Redbridge all my life and we really appreciate this service. My husband and I are 75 and cannot transport our green waste to the local tip. Please keep this service going We have a small back garden and haven't room for a compost type recycle. We try to keep our front garden as they should be - without paving everything over.

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  3. Please see what I have already submitted.!!

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  4. The Area 3 Committee also discussed a saving of £20000
    that will see the end to Green Collection from the Craven Gardens between April and October.It fails to take into account that additional land fill tax estmated
    by officers at £7500 and that there will be additional
    cost of clearing fly tipped waste and more to be collected weekly
    I regret that all Area Members ,other than myself, failed to support this being paid for from the local discretionary fund.The result is that local electors
    will suffer and I shall be watching to see they respond to local residents.Does this not underline the need for councillors to know the needs of the area they represent
    Councillor Harold Moth
    Fullwell Ward

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  5. Yes, Harold - councillors should know the needs of the area they represent. Problem is that too few of them do door knocking at times other than elections. The person who has been our London Assembly member for almost 12 years has never once knocked at my door.

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  6. Green waste being collected on Sundays at Craven Gardens seems to be hugely popular.
    I have no idea if the local budget can be allocated to keeping this luxury going but, some non-Fullwell Ward Councillors of Area3, acted as if the service was only relevant to the rate- payers residing in Fullwell ward. Some (euphemism!)Councillors in our Area3 are incredibly territorial!
    I suppose 'territorial' is a last refuge!
    annesevant

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    Replies
    1. Quite! But the Craven Gardens Car Park is in Fairlop Ward.

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  7. Humble pie for me!
    These 'territories' remain a mystery!
    annesevant

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    Replies
    1. I will give you a Nerd tutorial when I next see you.

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    2. Or perhaps Nerd tutorials for certain Area 3 councillors (but not Fairlop or Fullwell....).

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  8. Reprieve for Weekly kerbside Green waste collections - Recorder

    No mention of the Craven gardens car park though, perhaps Harry will tell us tomorrow...

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  9. Now that the much appreciated, much used Green Waste collection is imminent,I wish to highlight a slight public perception problem: I was mentioning to a plotholder that the many sweetcorn sticks they grew last summer (which do not compost easily) could be collected as part of the imminent Green Waste collection on the doorstep.
    The plotholder did not believe me because the foliage had turned brown, so, was not green anymore.
    What to do?
    annesevant

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  10. Tell them to read the instructions on the side of the bag or print this off for them.

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  11. Collections resume from Monday 2 April

    Ian

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