Residents Tell Council to Keep Wheelie Bins, but Look Again at Alternate Weekly Collection
Most residents like the new wheelie bins but only 35 per cent want to keep alternate weekly collection. Almost 60 per cent of residents would prefer a return to some form of weekly collection for residual domestic waste. These and other findings are revealed in results of a major consultation exercise conducted by Epping Forest District Council late last year. Results from the consultation will be used to help councillors produce a new specification for the domestic waste collection, recycling and street cleaning service later this year.
Councillor Stephen Metcalfe, portfolio holder responsible for waste collection, invited residents to comment on the service in an open letter delivered to every household during December. It was also printed in local newspapers and available online from the council website. Almost 1,000 residents responded before 1 January. Small numbers of responses continue to arrive at the Council each day.
Councillor Metcalfe was delighted by the response to his letter. He said: I have been overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of responses we have received and would like to thank everyone who responded. The reaction has been fantastic. Many people seemed really pleased to have the opportunity to make an input.
He continued: The vast majority of comments are very constructive and many go into considerable detail. Residents have given us a great deal of food for thought. Their feedback will be invaluable as we work towards letting a new refuse contract later this year. With so many responses we felt that it was right to draw a line on the official consultation on 31 December but I am still happy to receive feedback from anyone with points to make.
Councillor Metcalfe has read every comment sent by residents and responded personally to many. However, with so many received, the Council is unable to respond to each individually.
- Just over 10 per cent of residents who responded to the survey said that they did not like wheelie bins but 75 per cent approve.
- Around 36 per cent of residents felt happy with alternate weekly collections but 35 per cent called for a return to weekly collections all year.
- A further 24 per cent felt that some form of weekly collections during the summer months made a good compromise.
- Very few people would be happy to see an increase in Council Tax or cuts in other services to pay for weekly refuse collections.
Few people were in favour of fines for putting rubbish out at the wrong time or refusing to recycle. However, there was much more support for littering and flytipping fines. The system of separating waste for recycling is complicated and many people would like more information. Some people would like to see more money spent to improve street cleaning.
The final shape of the new contract will be influenced by many factors, said Councillor Metcalfe. Maximising recycling is essential. We are not just doing this to meet a Government or European Union target. Recycling is by far the best way to cut pollution and protect our environment. We also want to make the system as easy and convenient for residents as possible. Money is obviously another issue and there may be things people would like but we cannot afford. However, I feel much happier that we can now move forward with a clearer understanding of people`s views and expectations.
Further feedback from the consultation will be published in the Council magazine, The Forester and online.