Council row over rubbish
PUBLISHED: 11:32 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010
FURIOUS opposition councillors have accused the Tories of getting cold feet over fortnightly rubbish collections for fear they could be a vote loser. They claim the decision to dump the idea in favour of returning to weekly collections could lead to red
FURIOUS opposition councillors have accused the Tories of getting "cold feet" over fortnightly rubbish collections for fear they could be a vote loser.
They claim the decision to dump the idea in favour of returning to weekly collections could lead to reduced recycling and Government fines.
The outburst came from the Liberal Democrats who claim the Tories were in favour of the new scheme until they saw national publicity revealing it had knocked their popularity in other parts of the country.
"This Tory council has decided for political reasons not to go ahead with it," said Haddenham Cllr Ian Allen, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman.
"In other parts of the country the Tory council's popularity has dipped when they have introduced fortnightly collections.
"This was my proposal and it wouldn't have made me popular. But they are at the start of a four year term and they should be making decisions which are good for the community. It would have blown over by the next election. But they are going for that popular vote."
He claimed that he and Conservative leader, Councillor Brian Ashton, had been touring parish councils to promote the idea of fortnightly collections.
"Now he has cut and run," he said. "I was shocked."
Cllr Allen added that rolling out the fortnightly collections across the district would have lead to a "tremendous saving in the amount of household rubbish going to landfill".
"We believe it's been proved that one way to encourage householders to recycle more, and cut the waste, is to reduce the frequency of black bag collections," he said.
The Tories are confident that a new contract agreed with Waterbeach-based Donarbon will allow rubbish to be recycled at a new plant and cut down on landfill, reducing the risk of Government fines for not meeting targets.
"The Tories decided not to gamble on fortnightly collections if this plant could get them out of trouble," said Cllr Allen.
But he added that the new recycling plant had not even been granted planning permission yet.
"It won't be up and running for two years and we could miss our targets and end up paying landfill fines," he warned.
Cllr David Brown, East Cambridgeshire District Council's Conservative waste management project leader, said that the decision had been made to return to weekly rubbish collections in line with residents' wishes.
He said: "As far as I am concerned I am elected to do my best for the people of East Cambridgeshire and if there is a bad deal I won't be supporting it.
"We had a number of meetings, including with Cambridgeshire County Council's waste officer, which I know changed Cllr Ashton's mind about the situation.
"We have got total assurances that the new plant at Donarbon will remove any possibility of us facing fines. Under the new contract we are extending kerbside recycling to collect plastic bottles and we know that people are happy to recycle as long as we make it as easy as possible. We are also looking at a deal on home composting.
"We have secured the best possible deal and it will allow us to pump money into marketing to get decent information out there to tell people how to go about it.