Waste and Recycling Plans will Go Ahead Including Controversial Garden Waste Charge
|Published: 2nd August 2021 12:23|
A special Full Council meeting was held at Chester Racecourse last Tuesday (27 July), where the majority of council members voted to accept the new strategy.
The key changes approved by Full Council include a chargeable garden waste collection service to be provided over 40 weeks of the year, covering the growing season between March and November. Residents would be able to opt into this service or make their own arrangements.
Orange blooms, most definitely not yet ready for the green bin. Garden waste collections are to continue fortnightly, in line with the frequency of the proposed kerbside collection service but a key difference would be an annual charge of £40 per container for garden waste collections. This equates to £2 per collection and comes in addition to the Council Tax already paid per household. Cheshire West and Chester Council note that this amount is in line with the current additional capacity charge.
The vote means that the Council can now progress with its plans to transform the way waste and recycling services in the borough are delivered, with the new model supporting residents in reducing the amount of household waste the borough produces and give people more capacity to recycle.
CWAC Council is facing unprecedented pressure on its budgets. The Council faces a funding gap of up to £31m between 2021 and 2024 and the new strategy will help reduce the cost pressures surrounding the Waste Management Service.
The changes will be introduced in 2022, with the charge for garden waste starting from March 2022.
As reported by Cheshire Live: "The vote had been due to take place almost two weeks ago at a virtual council meeting - which have been running for the last 16 months - but eight Conservative councillors called for an in-person meeting to specifically discuss the waste issue, with the Chester Racecourse venue being hired at a cost of £6,000 to provide for adequate social distancing."
There were 36 votes in favour of the strategy and 33 against. It's clear that the decision was as divisive within the council, as it appears to be with the public, judging by social media commentary.
To note, the key changes approved by Full Council include:
- Household waste will be collected fortnightly using a 180 litre wheeled bin (as per the current arrangement).
- Two larger capacity recycling bins on wheels, which will be collected fortnightly to replace existing 55-litre boxes.
- Food collections weekly using existing small food bin (as per the current arrangement).
- People will be supported with special arrangements if their housing circumstances make it more difficult to accommodate larger bins.
- The changes to the services would reduce carbon emissions by 220,000kg a year. This supports the Council's ambition of making west Cheshire a carbon-neutral borough by 2045.
It will help the borough to respond to the challenges of climate change through waste reduction and by cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions.
The Council will work alongside its waste and recycling partner Cheshire West Recycling to deliver a range of innovative new measures. These will be designed to encourage community recycling and tackle litter.
The plans also reaffirm the Council's commitment to continue its good performance in diverting as much waste as possible from costly disposal in landfill sites.
The Council will continue to explore opportunities to use energy from waste and emerging technology to further reduce costly waste processing and treatment.
The strategy will also review the borough's Household Waste Recycling Centres, looking at their locations, access and opening times.
The Council's fleet of refuse collection vehicles will be updated to make it more efficient and cost-effective. This will include options for new energy-efficient and electric vehicles.
There will be an ongoing education campaign to encourage people to reuse and recycle more.
The current system of kerbside sorting of waste and recycling will be replaced. The new service will respond to residents' concerns by removing the existing boxes that some people find difficult to carry and are easily damaged.
Councillor Karen Shore Cheshire West and Chester Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: "The decision by Full Council to approve the plans for the new Waste Management Strategy means we can now move forward and start to make the changes.
"We know that people in our borough feel strongly about waste reduction and recycling and we would like to thank everyone who has taken an active role in shaping our new strategy. It represents the best option for the future of our borough if we are to meet our climate change commitments.
"Given the financial pressures the Council faces, we have had to make some tough decisions if we are to continue to provide those services people in our borough rely upon.
"We now need to work together as a community to embrace the changes the new strategy suggests and safeguard the future of our borough.
"We have consulted with our residents throughout this process and we will keep this conversation going as we move towards implementing the new strategy."
Cheshire West Recycling Manager Director, Rob Edmondson, added: "The focus of the company is now to work collaboratively with the Council to ensure the new services are implemented effectively and with minimum disruption to our residents. I would also like to thank everybody within Cheshire West Recycling for their personal commitment to maintaining essential waste services throughout the pandemic and know that they will embrace this new challenge with the same level of enthusiasm."
You can read the full report into the Waste Management Strategy here.