Proposal to scrap weekly Arun waste collections rejected

Arun Biffa bin lorry SUS-150715-100136001
Arun Biffa bin lorry SUS-150715-100136001

A ‘COST-saving’ proposal to scrap weekly rubbish collections was dismissed by councillors on Monday.

Arun District Council’s cabinet voted to keep weekly collections after the current contract with Biffa expires in 2017.

Officers had recommended a move to alternate weekly waste collections, in a bid to save an estimated £448,000 per year on current service costs.

Cabinet member for leisure and amenities Paul Dendle proposed an amendment to the recommendation, in favour of keeping weekly collections.

He said: “I’m very conscious of the manifesto commitment of my party to weekly collections and at the same time I’m very conscious of the responsibility to residents to save money and keep taxes as low as possible.”

Option one proposed weekly waste collection with a wheeled bin, with alternate weekly recycling collections.

Option two, as recommended by director of environmental services Philippa Dart, put forward the idea of alternate weekly waste collections.

Mrs Dart said: “I have recommended that we take option two. I am, however, aware that I have suggested this on the grounds of cost saving and this may not be a route that members wish to take at all at this time.”

The two options had been put forward following two seminars for councillors, which saw consultants Ricardo-AEA answer questions. But some members criticised the sessions, saying there was not enough time to dicuss the important contract.

The cabinet agreed to keep weekly collections, agreeing a range of other recommendations regarding the scope of the new contract, which will go out to tender.

Costs will be sought for a service with and without wheeled bins.

Leader Gill Brown said: “I think we do an absolutely brilliant service at the moment with waste collection and I think it is seen as the most important thing that residents feel that the local authority provides and we mustn’t forget that we are here to do what the residents want, however difficult it may be sometimes.”

Some members took exception to Dr James Walsh’s comments in last week’s Gazette, arguing he was not present at the seminars.

Mr Walsh had said: “To come back just weeks after the local elections in which that (weekly collections) was assumed to be the case is a disgraceful U-turn which the electorate now don’t have a chance to comment on.”

Councillor Terence Chapman wondered ‘if he actually understands how this works’, suggesting it was not the cabinet making the recommendation but just advice from officers.