Column: Talking Politics - Residents demand a reliable recycling service

Councillors Steven Leigh and George Robinson discuss why they are launching a petition to demand improvements with our recycling collections.

By Zoe Drye
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 11:00 am
Recycle: Missed collections are still happening
Recycle: Missed collections are still happening

The Conservative Group is taking action on missed recycling collections – we are launching a petition to demand that the Labour-run council improves our recycling collections, to enforce the contract and provide compensation to households experiencing repeated missed collections.

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During the Budget process, we were told by the Labour-run council that it had come up with a ‘magic fix’ to solve the unacceptable levels of missed recycling collections – which was a taxpayer subsidised payment of £450k over the next three years, to the council’s waste contractor. Months later, the problems remain, and many residents feel that the situation is becoming worse. “We couldn’t believe it when we saw the increase in payments to our waste contractor” said Coun Steven Leigh, Leader of the Conservative Group, adding, “this is a multi-billion-pound multinational company, and as far as I am concerned, we are paying more, and getting less - which has been the long-running theme under this Labour Administration”. It is claimed that the increase in payments to the waste service provider was to recruit and retain more drivers, who were being poached by competing organisations from the public and private sector during the pandemic. This was a decision taken by the Labour Cabinet, and their decision was outside of the normal budget process, which tied the hands of opposition groups and resulted in the Calderdale Conservatives being unable to suggest alternative proposals.

Coun George Robinson, the Shadow Cabinet Lead for Public Services said: “Labour promoted the £450k Contractor ‘fighting fund’ as a panacea, but the problems are clearly systemic. Recycling collections are still unreliable, and the extra money is a leaky sticking plaster at best”, he went on to say, “following our missed collections, residents asked for a rebate. Instead, the council gave the contractor more money. What guarantees did the council receive to promise a better service? How has the council stuck up for its residents and demanded compensation? At present, the council’s £450k contribution seems like a waste of taxpayers’ money.” The Conservative Group will be putting pressure on Calderdale Council to compensate those residents who consistently suffer missed recycling collections. At the moment, if residents are still experiencing repeated missed collections, their only option is to submit a complaint through the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, who could decide that complainants are entitled to financial compensation from the council. “It is only right that residents are compensated for any distress caused by repeated missed recycling collections. Furthermore, rubbish left uncollected, is leading to waste being blown all over the streets. Businesses and high streets are also becoming an eyesore due to missed collections,” said Coun Leigh.

This petition has been set up to give residents the chance to take action and send the Labour-controlled council a message. Our petition can be found via: calderdale conservatives.uk /form/ improveourrecycling collections.