Bin collections are now moving to 4 weekly in parts of Conwy and are three weekly in the rest of the county. Discussions are afoot in Anglesey. This is despite ALL north Wales authorities meeting their recycling targets. I know that communities are literally up in arms about this and the strength of feeling is overwhelmingly against these measures.
I’ve raised refuse collections twice in the Senedd, once last term and now this term. I make no apologies for raising this twice – it’s is one of THE most often mentioned issues that constituents raise and as I represent those constituents, I will raise matters that affect their quality of life and the things that are important to them.
Not only is the Welsh Government pursuing a gold standard of recycling (100% by 2050) which is over and above the targets set by the European Union, it has also abdicated all responsibility and suggests these moves are wholly the responsibility of the relevant councils. But what is behind this?
Is it the altruistic desire to recycle and reuse, to save landfill space or to avoid the fines that are the Welsh Government’s punishment for not meeting targets? – those mentioned above, that were proclaimed as met during the summer months?
Or is it more a cynical way of saving money in tough times?
I have a larger than average family and while we are not in the trial area on Anglesey, I can be sure that we would not manage on 4 weekly collections – we have a toddler still in nappies, until recently we had a pet, most households will have sanitary waste products, many will have growing children. We also pay a chunk of council tax that is supposed to cover the services provided by the council. This goes up every year but the range and quality of services goes down.
There is no room in the bin for a clear out of the house, and these may be needed more often than not in some larger households; there is no room for forgetting to put out the bin, either on a bank holiday or missing collection day when away from home. I am not elderly, not disabled and relatively fit and I have a car to get to the tip. Not everyone is this lucky.
Many of our residents across North Wales have expressed outrage, concern and disapproval of these measures. To add insult to injury, recycling plants are open only part time or not at convenient times for working families; during windy weather, recycling boxes become strewn all over the streets and are difficult to store and manage. Residents have described
a draconian collection service where bins and recycling are not collected due to a single rogue item – a tin can in the plastics box for example. We do not expect this level of enforcement from our local councils who we pay to provide us with a service. Residents tell me they are feeling penalised.
Many families are describing a build-up of household rubbish, they are upset over the smell and sight of refuse and recycling either in or out of their homes. Many have described rodent and insect infestations.
I hope that the unintended consequences of this policy is not more littering, more fly tipping or more costs for these councils and us. I will expect a rigorous evaluation of this trial and I will continue to ask these questions.
If you need to get in touch or would like to share your story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 01248 717052.