notes from JK

Bin there: More questions on bins at a Cabinet meeting

Resident concern over how communal bins have been implemented in our city continues. And so I continue to try to hold the Conservative administration to account on this issue.

I recently attended a Cabinet meeting to ask Cllr Geoffrey Theobald what he was going to do to stop the new model bins (without the foot pedals) making so much noise when being shut. I also wanted to find out if the council is using more or less fuel to collect waste since the changes were introduced. I submitted my questions in writing a full 15 days before the meeting. Nevertheless I still haven’t got an answer to the question on fuel use, nearly a month since I first asked it. In the clip you’ll see Cllr Theobald claim this is a very difficult bit of information to establish – which I find rather worrying, surely this kind of information should be easily on hand to manage CityClean’s budget.

It turns out that the ‘stopper’ being promised by CityClean to deal with the problems will have no effect on the noise of it slamming shut. The proposed alterations will just prevent the flap from hanging open by welding a bit of metal to the flap to restrict the width to which it can be opened. Cllr Theobald didn’t respond to my query as to the additional cost of this alteration.

Cllr Theobald claims to have apologised at previous council meetings but as you can see in my previous blog post I asked him to apologise but no apology was forthcoming.

Two other things to note in the video clip which the microphones don’t pick up well. One is that several Cabinet members were trying to say I couldn’t ask my supplementary question about whether there were plans to roll out more communal bins as they felt it wasn’t on the same subject as my original questions — which is just bizarre as my questions were all obviously about the bins.

Secondly I made a point of order at the end because at the January council meeting, Cllr Theobald claimed the waste strategy (a key document for the city promised since 2007) would be presented to that very Cabinet meeting, but it wasn’t there!

It has emerged that the strategy will come to Cllr Theobald’s cabinet member meeting this coming week, I’ve looked at the document and my first impression is that it’s very weak indeed. But regardless, if a Councillor tells the whole council that he will present a document to a specific Cabinet meeting and then doesn’t, isn’t that a cause for concern? I think so.

You can read my original written questions and the answers (or non-answers more like!) here. The minutes don’t yet reflect what, as you can see on the video, actually happened; I’m working on having that changed.

It was recently reported in The Argus (sadly not on their website it seems), and I have confirmed with council officers, that Hastings will be introducing communal bins but with communal recycling also. They have been looking at Brighton & Hove’s experiences and it’s interesting that they are doing exactly what I have suggested. If there must be communal bins at least put recycling on a level footing with waste disposal, otherwise recyclables will get just chucked away in the big bins.

Problems with the bins continue to make the news including a video on The Argus website and front page of the Brighton & Hove Leader (with a picture of yours truly) which was an unexpected shock when picking up the morning post!

My previous posts on communal bins, in chronological order: