COLUMN: 'The council’s rubbish service' - Craig Whittaker MP

Talking Politics from Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker

By News Room
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 12:32 pm
MP for the Calder Valley Craig Whittaker
MP for the Calder Valley Craig Whittaker

One of the biggest complaints I get in my inbox is the current state of the borough. The area is looking extremely unkempt due to the amount of litter. In fact, in over 30 years living in the Valley, I can honestly say it is embarrassing to see the area in such a poor state.

One of the biggest causes is the missed recycling collections. I see it all over the Valley. Residents put their recycling out expecting it to be collected as part of their paid service. But, more often than not, most of it vanishes; but not because Suez has been to collect it. Instead, it has blown away in the stormy weather.

I find it increasingly difficult to be complimentary to our Labour-run council and, on this occasion, this woeful performance is squarely on them. Suez is an international company and the council’s contractor for waste collection. In the past year, they have had an acute shortage of drivers. The council’s answer to this is not to hold the contractor to account, but instead to pay them an additional £450,000 of your money! You could not make this stuff up.

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Surely the short-term solution would have been to collect recycling once a fortnight for a short period? With a good level of communication, I’m sure that residents would have much preferred this than putting it out in anticipation of a collection that doesn’t happen. In fact, this is what many residents were suggesting themselves. Perhaps if the council had consulted with residents, they would have found a better solution.

On a recent trip through Hebden Bridge to Todmorden for surgeries during one of the storms, the air was full of rubbish being blown all over, hitting cars and vehicles on the road. This rubbish ends up, not just in undergrowth and hedges, but also in our rivers and waterways.

In my opinion, this is why the borough is looking so untidy and litter strewn. It is about time our councillors did more to hold the ruling group to account. I see Coun Jacob Cook (Greetland and Stainland) has a petition going about this very issue.

We need our council to be honest with people. Where they have difficulties picking up recycling around the borough, they should tell residents not to put it out at all.

When a workplace has had a person infected with Covid, they do a deep clean. I want to challenge the leader of the council, Coun Tim Swift, to organise a ‘Deep Clean’ of the borough – a day where we can all get out and litter pick the whole borough, including him and the civil servants.

It’s time the leader got a grip of the collections and holds Suez to account. Suez should provide the service they are already contractually obliged to do. They should not be given more taxpayers' money to incentivise Suez to do a job that we are already paying for!