Coun George Robinson, who represents Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Ward, says many residents across Calderdale are complaining about missed collections, which means uncertainty for homeowners with rubbish building up and bad weather blowing items from recycling bins around communities.
The Councillor also believes flytippers are using the problems as an excuse for dumping waste in some of the area’s remote spots and thinks the situation will only get worse as we approach the busy festive season.
Coun Robinson said: “Collecting waste and rubbish from our homes is one of the most important and visible jobs a council does and when residents feel they are receiving a poor service it is no surprise they question where their hard-earned council tax money is going.
"There are, as we all know, huge challenges being faced by the Council’s waste contractor. But when the Labour Cabinet spend taxpayers money to provide a public service, it is down to those leaders to provide solutions, represent us, and improve things.
“I know how hard the collection crews from the Council and the Contractor have been working and we appreciate their hard work. But their efforts must be backed up by a fit-for-purpose strategy that ensures homeowners know when their waste and rubbish will be picked up and can rely on the service.
“As well as addressing the long-term problems of driver and crew recruitment, there are short term solutions that must be put in place – extending opening hours for Household Waste hubs over Christmas and New Year, allowing replacement recycling containers to be collected from these sites, and ensuring better communications with residents when things do go wrong and delays happen.
“It is no surprise to me that I am getting more and more reports of flytipping too. There is never any excuse for rubbish to be dumped, but by providing a poor service we are giving the flytippers the excuse they need.
“We can’t let that happen and we can’t let our communities be blighted by waste, rubbish and recycling – something people pay good money for the Council to sort.”
The recycling problams have been highlighted at meetings by Calderdale Council
Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said earlier in the pandemic the Government had explicitly forbidden public services imposing penalties on contractors although in theory they could now “flex their muscles”.
But she said: “I don’t think macho management is necessarily the answer here.”
It had been a strategic choice at the start of the pandemic to prioritise waste collections, which had operated well, over recycling, said Coun Lynn.
The HGV driver issue was not an excuse it was a national crisis, she said.
Four loaders were being trained up to be drivers to start in the New Year, and the council was thinking about changes it might want to see in the contract when up for renewal in two years, said Coun Lynn.
Suez was having to use the driver money referred to in order to procure relief drivers so there was not necessarily a saving, she said.
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