Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Environment Portfolio Holder introduced the report, informing Members that the Waste and Recycling Collection Policy set out rules and standards to provide clarity for residents about how the new waste and recycling collection system would be operated and what responsibilities they and the Council had. In addition, the policy sought to minimise the number of complaints and disputes arising from residents. Members would also have clear recourse to Council Policy when answering queries from residents on the Waste and Recycling Collection Service.
The Policy covered assisted collections, side waste, presentation of receptacles for emptying and collection, service to rural properties, bin replacement and repair, additional waste and recycling bins, enforcement procedures, services to charities and community organisations and clinical waste.
Under Section 45(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the authority had a duty to collect household waste except where it was situated at a place which in the opinion of the authority was so isolated or inaccessible that the cost of collecting it would be unreasonably high and adequate alternative arrangements could be made or had been made for its collection. Section 46(4)(b) gave the authority the power to require waste receptacles to be located so as to facilitate the emptying of them. The Policy was intended to provide clarity for residents. This was especially pertinent to certain property types, such as remote areas or areas with long private drives.
An audit of residual waste which had been undertaken in October 2018 indicated relatively high levels of ‘side waste’ presented with grey bins (10%). This Policy sought to address this by proposing a closed lid policy and educating householders to actively participate fully in waste minimisation and recycling of waste. A sample of side waste had been tested and found to be at least 75% recyclable material.
Garden waste tonnages declined in winter months and, currently, the Council suspended Green Waste collections for up to six weeks, diverting resources to collect residual waste. The Policy proposed a period of suspension for up to ten weeks each winter for garden waste collections and a continuation of fortnightly residual waste collections to allow allocation of resources to other key services like recycling collections, training and verge litter picking. This proposed suspension was likely to result in a very small reduction in the recycling credit received for recycled green waste that may otherwise have been collected over this time. It was not possible to quantify precisely what the reduction might be but it was considered to be minimal.
The proposal would, however, create greater efficiencies that would outweigh any loss that might arise, as detailed below:-
· there would be savings and efficiencies as staff would not be required to attend work over weekends to complete health and safety and other training;
· there would also be savings of 18,000 litres of fuel (based upon ten weeks) from usage alone, as the vehicles would not be used for green waste collections; and
· the Council was also required to carry out Health Screening for things such as hand arm vibration, skin conditions, eye sight and hearing, and currently these tests were undertaken during the staff members’ own time, with overtime paid at the appropriate rate (so as to maintain service delivery).
The revised suspension of Green Waste collections enabled the following efficiencies and savings:-
· fuel savings of circa 18,000 litres (over ten weeks);
· carbon reduction from reduced mileage;
· staff overtime savings from attending courses and health screening in none-work time;
· vehicle wear and tear (tyre savings); and
· staff redeployed to other work areas, such as verge litter picking.
The policy proposed that, from 1 April 2019, a delivery/administration charge would be introduced for the delivery of bins, boxes and bags to all new housing developments. This charge would apply for a full suite of bins and boxes, at a total cost of £60 per household. If implemented, then the charge would be kept under review as part of the annual review of fees and charges. During 2017/18, there had been circa 320 new properties built and occupied, and this would see a net income of £16,000 per annum.
In exceptional circumstances, the Policy would offer additional residual waste capacity for householders. Arrangements could be made to help those who need a larger or extra bin for their non-recyclable waste. In these cases, an assessment might be carried out before any extra capacity was issued. Additional bins would be considered for households with more than six persons permanently living at the property or for households with residents who had a particular medical condition.
The Policy proposed a more structured approach where assisted collections were considered necessary following assessment. An annual audit would take place to ensure that the service remained the most appropriate for the household.
Members were requested to approve the Policy and to agree the delivery charges to new developments as set out in the report.
A number of questions were raised.
Clarity was sought with regard to the closed lid policy which raised concerns whereby ‘side waste’ not collected from properties would affect residents in neighbouring properties. The Community and Leisure Manager explained that these issues would be addressed through engagement and education, with enforcement being used as a last resort.
In response to a query regarding charging for new bin deliveries, the Environment Portfolio Holder explained that this related only to new housing developments, the fee to be paid by the developer. With regard to existing household bins that broke, these would continue to be replaced. The Community and Leisure Manager provided further clarification, adding that the figures quoted related to the provision of the bins, administration of the request, delivery and staff time for delivery. The Finance Portfolio Holder explained that the additional 20% was for VAT, as this was a VAT chargeable activity. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that if further information was required in relation to charges for new bin deliveries, a detailed request should be put in writing to the Environment Portfolio Holder.
The Environment Portfolio Holder agreed with a suggestion that the list of items to be treated as contaminants in recycling bins or boxes contained within Section 6 of the Policy should be further publicised and undertook to ensure that this was carried out during the next year.
The Portfolio Holder agreed with the need to include further definition and clarity at Section 7 of the Policy regarding service to charities and community organisations.
With regard to concern expressed regarding the timescales relating to applications for assisted collections, the Community and Leisure Manager explained that locality teams would work within their areas to find out about and interview those who required help.
The Finance Portfolio Holder drew attention to the need to educate residents to act in a responsible manner and also the Council’s fiduciary duty to provide a financially efficient service, for example, through charging developers for new bins.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the Waste and Recycling Policy, as set out at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved; and
(2) from 1 April 2019, delivery charges, as detailed in Section 3.8 to the report and the Policy at Appendix 1 to the report, be made for the administration delivery of bins, boxes and bags to all new housing developments, the charging rate to be reviewed as part of the Council’s annual fees and charges.
Reasons for Decision
To support the following aims and objectives in the Council Plan:-
• contribute to minimising waste arising and increasing recycling rate; and
• ensuring all households receive an equitable service.
The Policy provides clarity, transparency and a consistent approach to delivering the priorities within the resources available.
The aim of the Policy is to ensure that the waste and recycling services operate efficiently and effectively. The adoption of the Policy will result in greater consistency in terms of service delivery, with standards of service being clear, transparent and in accordance with the Council Plan ambitions.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
As set out within the report.
Publication date: 08/02/2019
Date of decision: 06/02/2019
Decided at meeting: 06/02/2019 - Cabinet
Effective from: 18/02/2019