Councillor Birch pushes to tackle waste crisis
We have a waste collection crisis in South Hams. There are widespread problems with the new recycling collection service across the district and councillors have been inundated with complaints of non-collection. It has been reported that 4,000 properties have not had their bins collected. Councillors have been receiving many calls and emails notifying them of missed collections throughout the district.
The crisis is brought about by the failure by the Council's waste collection contractor, FCC, to manage and run the service in a proper manner. FCC is in breach of its contract with the Council and Councillor Birch is calling for action to be taken to ensure the residents have a waste collection that runs smoothly and without missed collections. Councillor Birch has been asking the Council to come clean and explain all the problems being caused by FCC and what action is being taken to ensure it complies with its contractual obligations.
"it is not sufficient to offer apologies for the inconvenience caused by this unsatisfactory recycling system", Councillor Birch argues.
On 13 May, after lots of pressure, SHDC did issue councillors with a position statement. Rather shamefully they said the statement should be kept confidential.
"I took a different view and I asked that the issue be taken as an urgent item at the Full Council meeting held on 20 May 2021" Councillor Birch said. However, his request was refused and it appeared that SHDC did not wish the problem to be discussed in public.
"When I attempted to raise the waste crisis at the Full Council meeting I was prevented from doing so and not allowed to question the administration", he continued.
His calls, along with four other Lib Dem councillors, for an extraordinary full council meeting to force the issue out into the open, were also rejected in favour of a meeting to be held on 17 June, which is not soon enough to address the issue urgently..
To overcome this delay, and in his capacity as chair of SHDC Overview & Scrutiny Panel Councillor Birch has called an Extraordinary Meeting of the Panel to be held tonight, 10 June, at which Members will be given the opportunity to question both officers and FCC on the reasons for the 4,000 missed collections and the steps being taken to resolve this problem. This meeting will be broadcast live to the public.
"The most disappointing thing is the residents of the South Hams have always supported recycling. We did have some of the highest rates in the Country. Now with the latest fiasco some residents are just giving up", Councillor Birch concluded.
We'll keep you updated.