Councillor Steve Saunders, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the Lewes District Council asks a key question at the July full council meeting of the Lewes District Council of the Conservative Leader on the question of public consultation regarding waste collections:
In the recent forward plan announced by this administration, a plan to implement fortnightly household waste collections has been introduced.
To my knowledge, there has been no consultation to date with the residents of the District over these proposals and this appears to mirror the recent decision made by this same administration to sell off various pockets of land that include recreational and amenity areas and comes on top of the introduction of Special Expenses to charge certain residents for maintenance of open spaces in their towns and villages.
In Newhaven, we are home to not only the County Incinerator, where the household waste is sent for processing, but is where the District Council Depot is sited, housing our fleet of collection vehicles. No concession is given to Newhaven’s residents for the lesser costs involved in our waste collection, which is somewhat ironic, based on the reasoning behind the introduction of the previously mentioned Special Expenses.
This latest decision to reduce collections will exacerbate problems we already face in the town, with Seagulls, Foxes and other animals causing terrible problems with waste left out overnight for our waste collection service. Rubbish is often strewn across roads as bin bags are ripped apart and their contents scattered. Young families too, such as my own neighbours, rely on a weekly service to collect not one, but two wheelie bins (that they have had to purchase themselves!) full of rubbish containing amongst other items, nappies from the young children.
This is not an isolated example and affects many of the young families in Newhaven and I’m sure elsewhere in the District.
The measures associated with the planned alterations to the service, will presumably necessitate a blanket introduction of larger wheelie bins, which may or may not be supplied free of charge for residents, together with a possibly more frequent, but definitely better encouraged take up of the recycling scheme. A scheme that according to published data, has been failing to meet targets and is a poor record for the administration.
Where Christmas, Easter and Bank Holidays cause issues with fortnightly collections, we already see problems increase, but this may very well mean a further increase to 3 weeks in many cases.
My question to the Leader and/or his Cabinet Leader for Waste and Recycling, is will he be fully consulting with all residents before introducing the scheme, by way of a detailed survey delivered to all households, showing exactly how the scheme will work and showing what the costs for residents will be and showing what savings will be made for both the Council and potentially to people's Council Tax Bills?