Monthly rubbish collection kicks up a stink

Original by Georgie Keate, The Times - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/conwy-monthly-rubbish-collectio…

A local council has become the first in England and Wales to introduce monthly rubbish collections, despite strong opposition from residents.

Conwy council in Wales voted to extend a trial that began in 2016 with 11,000 homes to all households by 2019.

The vote overturns a decision made before Christmas to keep the trial in place and have one collection every three weeks as the standard.

The proposal was originally intended to encourage residents to recycle more of their rubbish but has been described as unfair by some Labour councillors for creating a two-tier system. A council committee voted to cancel the trial in November but was overruled by the Conservative-run cabinet.

To promote recycling, the council has begun providing free collection for large items, nappy bins for grandparents who look after small children and collections for those who miss the monthly service if they are on holiday.

Council staff had predicted before the trial that the monthly collection would save £390,000 a year.

Gareth Jones, the council leader, said: “What we decide today will have far-reaching consequences for the children of Conwy county and our children’s children. We in Wales can be proud of our record on recycling but time is not on our side — locally or globally. We have the opportunity to play our part in accelerating that change or stalling it. These are people who are making a real effort; they’re not people looking to fly tip.”

Chris Hughes, a Labour councillor, said: “We’ve had a lot of complaints from residents [in the trial] and I think everyone in the whole county will be very disappointed with this decision. It’s a step too far. People will feel like they are being asked to pay more and more, while getting less and less services.” There are proposals to raise council tax by 5 per cent. Residents voiced their complaints online. Angela Francis tweeted: “It hasn’t worked. Streets in Llandudno are filled with litter . . . bins spilled out in their last collection day, rubbish is just lingering, polluting the environment, acting as a health risk and looks appalling.”

The local Conservative Welsh Assembly member, Janet Finch-Saunders, said: “I am absolutely disgusted at this complete disregard for the interests of our residents here in Conwy.

“Families and households struggling with three-weekly collections will be rightly concerned as to how they will manage next year. The annual council tax rises appear to be returning very little in terms of service for residents, and indeed in this area, there has been a considerable reduction. Council taxpayers facing yet another 5 per cent increase on their bills will not be amused.

“Increases in fly-tipping rates over recent years have been sadly noticeable, and many will be concerned that this new policy will result in more incidents that blight our landscapes and beauty spots popular with tourists.

“Those who voted in favour of this proposal should seriously question their ability to fully represent the views of our hardworking council taxpayers and pensioners.”