Around 20 residents attended Back Garden’s meeting with SBC officers to discuss their proposals to change waste and recycling collections.
Sue Mendham, Head of Commercial Services for SBC, along with her colleague, Rachel Ind, came along to the Savernake Hall on Saturday, 7th December.
It was a spirited discussion with various questions or concerns being put forward, including…
Fears that our waste collections would no longer be in blue bags. We were assured that wouldn’t be the case.
Concerns that the proposals would lead to increased fly-tipping of household rubbish, recycling and green waste.
Concerns that recycling rates would be impacted as residents are likely not to recycling so much as they might not be able to store a fortnight’s worth of recycling.
Concerns that the above two issues would mean increased costs and whether that had been borne in mind when estimating the cost savings of the current proposals.
Concerns that SBC is trying to shoe-horn a ‘one size fits all’ policy into an area of the town for which it is inappropriate.
Consternation at SBC’s apparent contradiction in thinking whereby narrow Victorian streets in our area have forced their collections to be weekly, because larger vehicles can’t get through, yet a longer collection frequency will demand larger vehicles. (The answer given here is that the collection fleet is about to be refurbished and taller vehicles will be used.)
Concerns about paying for green waste collection and policing of same. (We were told that the proposed £35 + £35 system was already being considered for change, to a £40 a year collection fee for either green bags, or bins. We were also advised that residents might like to ‘club together’ to have their green waste collected. The challenges of living in an area peppered with HMOs was highlighted by residents here.)
Concerns that the cost of green waste collection will increase in future years.
Concerns that we will be expected to keep two weeks’ worth of blue rubbish bags in our homes and gardens between collections. (Clarification on the frequency of blue bag collections in our area was promised by Sue Mendham. See Back Garden’s Facebook page for updates on this.)
Concerns that residents don’t have enough storage space to meet the needs of fortnightly collections.
Concerns that we would need more orange boxes, in spite of concerns about where to put them!
Concerns that this policy is going to happen, in spite of real worries expressed by residents.
Concerns that the process of consultation is flawed; that the SBC Cabinet deciding on this proposal takes place only two days after the consultation process ends.
The council officers reminded residents of the financial pressures being faced by SBC and took several consultation forms away with them. Notes of residents’ concerns were taken by the officers for inclusion in the consultation process.
The officers were thanked for their time in coming to see Swindon’s Back Garden’s residents.
Running alongside the meeting was a recyclable materials craft session for children in the area.