Proposal to scrap Adur and Worthing weekly refuse collections to be decided by select group of councillors tomorrow

Weekly refuse collections could be scrapped. Picture by Simon Dack/Vervate
Weekly refuse collections could be scrapped. Picture by Simon Dack/Vervate

A major change to the way refuse is collected in Adur and Worthing is set to be decided by senior councillors tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 6).

Weekly refuse collections could be scrapped from September, 2019, if a proposal is approved by Adur and Worthing councils cabinet members.

The proposal would see refuse collected one week, with recycling waste collected the next as part of an alternate-weekly schedule. Click here for the full story.

News of the idea broke last week, when the agenda for tomorrow’s Joint Strategic Committee was published.

A council spokesman confirmed this morning that the decision would rest with cabinet members – meaning other councillors would not get a vote.

They said: “Only decisions relating to council policy and budget go to full council.

“As this is operational, it is a decision to be made by the exec [cabinet members].”

Contradictory statements

The council’s statement comes after Adur leader Neil Parkin spoke on BBC Radio Sussex about the proposal.

When questioned, he insisted the matter would go to both full councils – a statement contradicted by today’s comment from the council spokesman.

Speaking to the Herald today, Mr Parkin said all executive decisions were reported to full council and there were ‘ways’ of ensuring a council vote.

Councillor Lee Cowen, deputy leader of the Labour group on Adur District Council, called for consultation before a decision was made.

He said: “It’s unreasonable for such an important decision to be taken by a small body of people without consultation with residents, trade unions and other councillors.

“Only last week both councils agreed a consultation protocol whereby no proposal will be developed until consultation has taken place.”

Why are the councils considering changes?

The councils said pressure to dramatically increase recycling rates was behind the potential move away from its long-standing support for weekly refuse collections.

Government targets mean councils need to have recycling rates of at least 50 per cent by 2020 – the area currently recycles just 36 per cent.

Council papers, however, also reveal a financial implication to retaining weekly refuse collections.

No change would see the service cost the councils an extra £500,000 annually, a report stated.

This is partly because new housebuilding has led to the need for two additional rounds for waste teams.

An alternate-weekly refuse and recycling programme would save £594,000 a year, the report said.

But even if such a proposal boosted recycling rates – increases seen elsewhere would still see the councils requiring a further seven to nine per cent improvement.

Broken promises?

Bin collections were one of the key battlegrounds on the doorstep at May’s local elections.

In Adur, a Conservative leaflet stated: “Conservative-run Adur has confirmed its commitment to continue the weekly bin collections and fortnightly recycling.”

Over in Worthing, the Tory election statement sent to the Herald said: “Unlike most councils, Conservatives in Worthing have protected weekly bin collections. Worthing Labour prefer fortnightly collections.”

Mr Parkin said he had been accused of making a U-turn but said: “I’ve had lots of people saying ‘you are doing a U-turn and I have said that I am a cab driver. We do them all the time.”

The leader added that he knew the move might not be popular but £1million – the difference between saving more than £500,000 and spending an extra £500,000 – was a lot of money, while recycling rates needed to be improved.

See what residents thought of the plans when the news broke here.

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