Cabinet: Residents’ views help shape waste proposals

21 Mar 2013 @ 6.03 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Cabinet will consider proposals to change garden waste collections and amend the opening hours at Towthorpe Household Waste Recycling Centre, following extensive consultation with York residents, on 2 April 2013.

Over 1,000 residents have replied to the council’s online/telephone consultation and over 500 customers have been consulted at Towthorpe. The consultation proposes options to make a number of efficiency changes to City of York Council’s waste and recycling services and contribute towards a two-year savings target of £125,000.

City of York Council is committed to remaining one of the top performing waste and recycling authorities in the UK and achieve a 50 per cent target rate of recycling by 2020 (47 per cent is currently diverted from landfill).

Recent changes to the European legislation national policies have placed a greater emphasis on waste management, with significant implications for budgets, policy and stakeholder expectations for Local Authorities. In order to meet these demands and maintain a high quality service for York, residents were consulted on a number of proposals between 15 February and 14 March.

Cllr David Levene, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “We are committed to providing the best possible service to residents and businesses, and recognise that to achieve this we needed to listen closely to their views.

“This consultation enabled us to hear what residents wanted before any decisions on garden waste or Towthorpe opening hours were made. We’ve been open and honest with the public throughout this process, but given the challenging financial situation facing the council a review of all services is essential.”

The garden waste options proposed included the possibility of a subscription charge year round or during the winter months (November to March), no garden waste collections between November and March (when only 18 per cent of that annual garden waste is collected), charging households for additional garden waste bins or preparing a business case for introducing food waste collections.

Of those who responded to the consultation there was little support for a subscription charge for garden waste collections, with 85.4 per cent opposed to charging all year round and 60.7 per cent opposed to charging in the winter months

However, there was strong support for removing the garden waste service during the winter months, with 71.2 per cent of all residents supporting these proposals and equally by 61.5 per cent of residents who currently use the winter service.

In addition, 69.8 per cent of all residents and 62.7 per cent of people who use the winter service felt that the removal of the service would have no impact on them and that they would compost at home or take their garden waste to an HWRC (Household Waste Recycling Centre).

Taking residents’ feedback into consideration Cabinet will be asked to approve the removal of the garden waste service between November and March each year with effect from November 2013, which will help make a cost savings of £67,000 per year.

Alongside this, 64.6 per cent of residents were in favour of charging for additional garden waste bins with 59 per cent of residents with more than one bin indicating that charging for additional bins would have no impact on them, and that they would compost at home or take their waste to a HWRC.

With this in mind, Cabinet will be asked to approve the introduction of an annual charge to residents of £35 for additional garden waste bins. Initial findings indicate that 3,500 paying customers will use this service, which would generate £122,500 per year.

The council will still provide a standard core service with 87.6 per cent of customers being unaffected by this charge.

York is also looking to follow in the successful footsteps of neighbouring authorities, like East Riding and Hull. East Riding of Yorkshire Council has seen landfill reduce by 15 per cent since introducing a combined collection of food and garden waste 18 months ago.

City of York Council is currently developing a business plan to introduce a combined food and garden waste collection, which was supported by 65.3 per cent of residents in the consultation. In developing this it will help to reach its target recycling rate of 50 per cent and could achieve a savings of £10,400 per year on disposal costs.

Over 500 residents were consulted at Towthorpe Household Waste Recycling Centre and of the four options put to residents the most popular was to close the site throughout the year on a weekday. An overwhelming 65 per cent of people who responded to the site survey agreed with closing the site one day during the week, with a lower 26.5 per cent wanting to reduce the daily opening hours.

In view of this strong support, Cabinet will be asked to approve the one day closure on a Wednesday, which will make an annual saving of £11,000 on site opening costs.

Proposals will now be put before Cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday April 2 at the council’s West Offices. To view the report please go here.

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