Recyler told to clean up its act

PUBLISHED: 13:47 08 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 04 May 2010

FOLLOWING a raft of complaints about waste and recycling, councillors have given their private contractor one month to pull its socks up. The Ely Standard has been inundated with letters complaining about uncollected recycling, poor delivery of plastic b

FOLLOWING a raft of complaints about waste and recycling, councillors have given their private contractor one month to pull its socks up.

The Ely Standard has been inundated with letters complaining about uncollected recycling, poor delivery of plastic bags and detritus littering roads across the district.

Despite Veolia picking up £1.2million a year to collect waste, we photographed this residents' display of uncollected plastic recycling at Witchford Road, Ely on Tuesday.

"We haven't gone down the road of sanctioning Veolia on price yet," said Fred Brown, council leader.

"but at the end of the month the gloves are off - they have to get all the problems solved by the end of August."

Despite householders bombarding councillors as well as the Ely Standard with their concerns, Conservatives rejected a move to formally review the service on Thursday, adding that they had already put measures in place last month to tackle the issue.

Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Allen, whose call for a review of the waste management service was rejected, said: "They have not listened to people across the district who voted them into power." said

Dr Bob Stevens Liberal Democrat councillor for Bottisham added that if action is not taken now, when Government landfill fines are introduced in 2010, ratepayers could be picking up a bill of just under £1.5 million.

He said a fundamental flaw with the collection scheme is that recyclable waste, including cooked and uncooked food, is collected only half as frequently as residual waste that goes to landfill.

"This doesn't encourage recycling. It would be better if waste for recycling was collected as often, or better still twice as often, as black bag residual waste for landfill. If recyclable waste was collected weekly, it would take up less space at home and smell less."

But Cllr Brown, firmly rejected any change to the current system.

"Weekly collections are here, and here to stay until the end of the contract," he told assembled councilors on Thursday.

"Yes, there have been teething problems but I don't think we have anything to hang our heads about," he added.

The district council, who has been tied into the £1.2 million contract with Veolia since July 2007, say they will put a new complaints system "on stream" by the autumn.

All recycling complaints should be directed to 01353 665555 so that the council can put pressure on the waste management company to perform better, at regular review meetings.

Liberal Democrats will push for the contract Veolia, to be discussed at the council's overview and scrutiny committee on September 4.

East Cambridgeshire recycles almost 15 per cent less than other areas of the county - residents in Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire are among the top five recyclers in the UK and recycle around half of their waste.

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