Article by Mark Richardson: Controversial waste collection plans accused of being bias against Billericay residents have been put on hold by Basildon Council.
Under the changes initially proposed by Basildon Council, household waste would be collected fortnightly in wheeled bins, and there would be an added charge for garden waste collection.
The changes were said to be about increasing recycling and reducing waste.
However, following a public consultation that saw more than 8,500 residents complete surveys, participate in focus groups and attend consultation events across the borough, Basildon Council have confirmed the changes have been put on hold.
Councillor Terri Sargent, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community, said:
“Following this consultation, the council has decided that a decision on whether to implement any changes to waste and recycling will be deferred for the foreseeable future. The council will examine issues raised in the consultation closely as it considers options for the future of the service.”
Terrence Gandy said the plans were unfair on his fellow Billericay residents who tend to have more garden space and so more green waste to dispose of.
Mr Gandy said:
“There has been a great furore in the local community around the council’s plans to reschedule waste collection. We are continually annoyed that while money is being spent in Basildon, Billericay is suffering because this is where all the gardens are. This is going to cause a lot more fly-tipping in Billericay because people are not going to want to pay.”
Basildon currently recycles half the waste they produce -the fifth best performance across Essex. However, borough households still produce an average one tonne of waste, which is the most in the county.
Cllr Sargent had previously said that evidence from other councils suggested the changes could make Basildon’s services more efficient and increase recycling. She said: “We are clear that, however we change, we want to reduce the amount of waste we are simply throwing away and increase the amount we recycle – this will improve the environment and save money.”
The proposals were previously discussed by Billericay Town Council in November where councillors expressed concerns at increased fly-tipping. James Hendry, Street Scene Manager for Basildon Council, then told councillors that the increased risk would be mitigated by putting measures in place to counteract the risk.
He added that the proposed changes were being considered due to a significant reduction in funding and that Basildon Council has to look at ways of doing things differently.
Article by Mark Richardson, The Enquirier