Labour back down on Green Bin Tax – but a second bin will cost £35 to empty!

The Liberal Democrat campaign to stop Labour introducing a charge for emptying green bins has been successful.

A report to the Councils Cabinet says that there will be no charge for emptying one bin at each property.

Green bin petition

However the service will not be available between November and March (when less than 17% of green waste is collected). The Council hopes to save around £67,000 by discontinuing this part of the service.

A survey undertaken by the Council revealed that only 14.5% support a charge. That compares to 96% who responded to our survey in the Westfield area who were opposed to a charge.

There are over 5000 additional green bins in use at properties with large gardens. The Council hopes that around 3500 residents will pay £35 a year to have these second bins emptied.

The majority of respondents to the Councils survey supported having a combined food and green waste collection. In other parts of the country this has reduced landfill volumes by 15% and officers are to look further at how this could be introduced in York.

The Council is also to close the Towthorpe recycling centre on one day a week. It appears that they have still not learnt the lesson that closing the Beckfield Lane centre should have taught them (inconvenience means increased landfill volumes).

The Council claim that their online/telephone survey attracted about 1000 responses.

It was attacked as misleading as it failed to explain that changes to the current arrangements would have been unnecessary if the Council had decided to scrap some of its more extravagant plans like establishing an “arts barge” on the Ouse.

Petition against green bin emptying tax started

York Liberal Democrats have launched a petition against Labour’s plans to introduce charging for green bin collections. It can be found here

Green Bin

The Council is asking residents to complete an “on line” questionaire. Click here to find it.

Remember though that it is the Labour Council that has decided to “save” £250,000 from the waste collection budget. They could – and in our view should – have looked to make the savings from other budgets such as abandoning the provision of “free” WiFi services in the City centre and cancelling the the introduction of the unnecessary 20 city wide speed limit

The background information papers pointedly fail to tell residents how much additional Landfill Tax the Authority will have to pay if, as expected, the amount of green waste put in grey bins increases. Any increased landfill payments would be passed on to all Council Taxpayers – not just those with gardens.

At last week’s Cabinet meeting the ruling Labour Group agreed to bring forward plans that could involve charging for garden waste collections (either all year round or between March and November), charges for additional garden bins, or stopping all winter collections.

City of York Council has refused to confirm how much the fees will be or what the impact will be on recycling rates and Landfill Tax. After the controversial closure of Beckfield Lane Tip last year, the Council is missing recycling targets and a report last week admitted that the authority was “underperforming” slipping to 260th in recent recycling performance tables for England. Meanwhile, missed targets mean Landfill Tax is due to reach a record £3 million this year.

In Derby, the Labour run Council are planning to charge residents £40 per year to have a garden waste bin and £20 for each additional bin, while in Newcastle 40,000 residents returned their bins after the Council introduced fees.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services, commented:

“We fear that introducing a charge for green bins will further increase Landfill Tax charges and fly-tipping while recycling rates will fall. Labour are focussed on the short-term income generated from charging residents, but have made no budget provision for paying more Landfill Tax or for clearing up more fly-tipping.

“The move also breaks a promise to residents. When alternate weekly collections were rolled out the Council entered into a contract with residents. In exchange for a reduced grey waste collection residents would be encouraged to recycle and provided with a suitable collection regime and containers to do so. This meant that under the Lib Dem administration recycling rates increased from 12% to 43%. Charging for green waste breaks this contract and is effectively an extra tax on residents who want to do the right thing and recycle.”

NB. The Council is also planning to reduce the operating hours of the Towthorpe recycling centre and to ask all those using the Hazel Court and Towthorpe facilities to produce proof of being a York resident before being allowed free access to the sites!

Behind the times

Council web site

2 weeks after the Beckfield Lane recycling centre closed, the Council is still advertising its “opening hours” on its web site. (See right).

Similarly the Council seems to have abandoned support for local Residents Associations.

Many of these Associations use their estate improvement monies to provide local rubbish skips for use by residents.

Some are being provided, for example, in the Cornlands area but – without any real prior publicity – today the skips were mostly empty.

Even the Councils web site hasn’t been updated for over a year http://www.york.gov.uk/housing/residents/associations/

Perhaps not surprisingly local Councillor D Williams has become the second “cabinet” member to be sacked from the “neighbourhoods” post within the last year. He was responsible for a series of blunders including the closure of the Beckfield Lane recycling centre and the decision to fell hundreds of lampposts without making adequate provision for their replacement.

Free Compost from the Council

The free compost giveaways will be going ahead again this year, in partnership with Yorwaste Ltd. There will be a giveaway on the 1st Sunday in every month between March and October. Please see the dates below:

Sunday 6th March

Sunday 3rd April

Sunday 1st May

Sunday 5th June

Sunday 3rd July

Sunday 7th August

Sunday 4th September

Sunday 2nd October

Compost can be collected from Harewood Whin, Tinker Lane (off Wetherby Road) from between 9.30am and 2.30pm. Residents must bring along a suitable bag or container to put the soil improver into and a shovel, as the compost is not bagged. We are advising people to visit the site as early as possible as there is a limited quantity of compost and it will go on a first come, first served basis.

We are hoping that the giveaways will be as popular as last year when we estimate that we gave away over 1,600 tonnes of compost. This year we are also starting the giveaways earlier in the year due to popular demand.

Changes to waste collection – Beaconsfield Street area

Residents will be aware of the consultation that the Council have been undertaking in Beaconsfield Street, Milner Street and Gladstone Street. The initiatives followed concerns expressed by some residents, on the LibDem “down your way” survey in July, about having to take residual waste sacks though their homes.

Residents received individual leaflets to their home addresses and they were asked to respond giving their preference for one of three options. The options were:

1. Present black bags at the front of their property (with a storage bin available on request)

2. Present a wheeled bin at the front of their property (NB. houses with forecourts)

3. Keep a wheeled bin on their property for presenting at a central collection point. Residents would have to wheel the bin to the collection point in the morning and return it when it had been emptied. Bins would have to be stored in back yards. Help would be available to move the bins for people with disabilities.

The closing date for the consultation was 16th August. The leaflet sent to residents said that if they did not respond then the Council would assume they were happy with the current arrangements.

The breakdown of responses for each street was as follows:

Beaconsfield Street: 73 properties were sent leaflets and the Council received 23 responses (32%). Of theses responses, 9 residents chose option 1, 7 chose option 2 and 7 chose option 3

Gladstone Street: 92 properties were sent leaflets and we received 26 responses (28%). Of these responses, 7 residents chose option 1, 2 chose option 2 and 17 chose option 3

Milner Street: 92 properties were sent leaflets and we received 33 responses (35%). Of these responses, 9 residents chose option 1, 2 chose option 2 and 22 chose option 3

On the basis of the returns above, there are a number of homes that require wheeled bins, and these are likely to be delivered around 10th September. The Council will write to individuals giving details.

If residents wish to change their preferred choice of collection arrangement before 10th September then they should contact the Council on 553226 or via the yourviewcounts@york.gov.uk Email address.

New Recycling Boxes On The Way

ann-reid-new-recycling-boxes-3.JPG 

(Lib Dem Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services Cllr Ann Reid with the new boxes)

Over the coming 5 months, City of York Council will be delivering new kerbside recycling boxes to 66,650 homes across the city.

You will receive two new boxes to go alongside your existing green box. One new box will be used for glass and the other new box will be for paper and cardboard. Your existing green box is to be used for plastic bottles and cans.

In order to cut down on the problem of paper blowing across the streets on windy days that many of you have contacted me about the new boxes come will complete with lids. You will also receive a net to use on your existing recycling box.

Having recycling sorted into three boxes will make collection quicker and easier for our crews and the efficiency savings this will generate will allow us to roll out kerbside recycling to those areas of the city that currently don’t have a collection.

York’s recycling rate has increased from 12% in 2003 to more than 45% in 2009, saving the city millions of pounds in landfill taxes and reducing the impact on the environment.

Delivery of the new boxes will be in two phases, phase one begins later this month and runs until the end of July. The second phase runs through September and October. No new boxes will be delivered during the school summer holidays to avoid any problems with people being on holiday and boxes being left out.

Delivery of the boxes in Westfield is spread over both phases one and two. You will receive a letter a few weeks before your box is delivered to tell you when to expect delivery. You can also check the delivery date for your street on the City of York Council website here.

The assisted service for those who have difficulty carrying their boxes to the front of the property will continue.

If you have any questions about the new boxes you can read a list of frequently asked questions here or call York Customer Contact Centre on 01904 551551