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Posts tagged rubbish
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Issued: 11 November 2021
A South Hams District Executive Councillor has publically apologised for an error of judgement when trying to act in the best interests of her residents and has agreed to pay £3,105 for the waste collection out of her own pocket.
When South Hams District Council suspended the collection of Garden Waste, Cllr Hopwood, Ward Member for Woolwell, wanted to arrange a one-off collection for her residents. She asked officers if this would be possible, but misunderstood the advice she was given.
Cllr Hopwood then arranged for a private contractor to make a one-off collection of garden waste within her Ward, funded by her Localities’ fund.
This arrangement was actually in breach of the Council’s requirements of her Localities’ funds. Upon realising she had acted in error, Cllr Hopwood offered an unreserved apology to residents, Members and officers.
At the beginning of the meeting Cllr Hopwood gave a full and unreserved apology: she said: “Members and officers may be aware that I organised a collection of brown bins within the Woolwell Ward which I represent.
“I sought officer advice about paying for this to be done out of my Locality budget after misunderstanding the advice given and went ahead with what I had organised in all good faith.
“I have since been contacted by the Monitoring Officer and subsequently met with him. He advised that not only was the organising of waste collections within my Ward against what the Executive had agreed, which was to suspend the garden waste service, but I informed residents that this would be paid for out of my Locality Budget as I genuinely misunderstood the advice given by officers.
“I offer an unreserved apology to both officers and Members and have assured the monitoring officer that this will not happen again.”
After the meeting, Cllr Hopwood added: “Today I felt backed into a corner and my only option was to either resign from the Council or pay the bill for the garden waste collection. I have been a Ward member for Woolwell for 20 years, I am passionate about my Ward, and the South Hams, and the last thing I want to do is to let my residents down. My residents are my priority and therefore resigning is not an option for me, so I will pay the bill.”
The Council’s Monitoring Officer accepted the public apology. He was satisfied after speaking with Cllr Hopwood that the councillor was aware of her wrongdoing and this would not be repeated. Cllr Hopwood subsequently agreed that she would pay the contractor’s invoice personally.
Although this was an error of judgement by Cllr Hopwood, South Hams says that the collection in Woolwell has also demonstrated to them, why employing small private companies to collect garden waste from the whole district is not an option.
The one-off collection organised by Cllr Hopwood was for 1,300 properties, in a Ward that is suburban and not typical of the South Hams, houses are closer to together over a smaller geographic area.
The South Hams garden waste service is provided to 43,350 households in the District at no additional charge to residents.
In September, an operational decision was taken to suspend the collection of garden waste collections so that other statutory services, such as recycling and general household waste could be prioritised.
A number of factors contributed to this decision, including staff sickness, the direct impact from the round review undertaken in October 2020, as well as the highly publicised national HGV shortage.
In October, the Executive made the regrettable decision that this suspension should remain in place until Spring 2022.
South Hams District Council officers continue to look at options for improving the service they are offering and are constantly taking on board ideas being put forward by other councillors.
For information about the suspension of the garden waste collection, please visit: www.southhams.gov.uk/waste-service-updates
Notes to Editors:
Sustainable Community Locality Fund:
Each Ward Councillor within the South Hams has been allocated £2,000 in the current financial year to support community projects that benefit their Ward or the wider local community. This Fund can support any project or activity which in the view of the Ward Councillor will improve the community and enhance the quality of life for local residents. Existing projects can be supported, but this Fund cannot be used to replace any withdrawn public sector funding (withdrawn within the previous two financial years) or provide or imply any ongoing financial support or support projects promoting religious beliefs.
Applications for funding can only benefit not-for-profit groups or organisations and not individuals.
Issued: 14 October 2021
To avoid further significant disruption to South Hams District Council’s refuse and recycling service, the Executive Committee have today reluctantly agreed to continue the suspension of the garden waste collections until spring 2022.
Council officers have explored a wide range of options to find possible ways to restore the garden waste service to all residents. Unfortunately, due to driver shortages, the Council and their contractor, FCC Environment, are unable to reinstate the service until Spring 2022; otherwise, this could significantly impact the waste, recycling and clinical collections that the Council legally has to provide.
Officers have also approached other organisations to help with a one-off collection ahead of the winter but this has not been possible because of the operational challenges others are also facing as well as the national driver shortages.
The Council are extremely regretful that the suspension at short notice caused disruption for their residents who may have had outstanding green waste to be collected. A shortage of drivers in August due to the national HGV driver issues and staff sickness meant the Council, together with FCC Environment, had to make the tough decision to prioritise the general refuse and recycling and clinical collections.
South Hams is not alone with experiencing significant delays due to the HGV driver shortages, experienced both nationally and across all business sectors. Locally, there have been challenges, which were highlighted by FCC Environment to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 13 October.
FCC Environment explained that they currently have 27% of unfilled HGV/LGV vacancies, which continue to affect refuse and recycling collections. Council officers are looking at greener ways to support residents to recycle their garden waste and will report back to Executive in December.
South Hams District Council remains the only council in Devon to provide a completely free of charge. The collection of garden waste is a non-statutory service, which means it is not one that the Council has to provide.
Cllr Keith Baldry, Executive Member for Environment, said: “We haven’t had a great set of options available to choose from, and we have chosen the best of the group.
“I greatly regret that we have to suspend the garden waste service but the alternatives available would mean further disruption for our communities with impacts to their waste and recycling collections, which we’re doing our very best to improve upon.
“Officers have worked tirelessly, doing everything in their power to try and find a resolution and I’d like to thank and congratulate them for their hard work. They’ve been contacting neighbouring local authorities and private waste companies to see if they can provide us with help to collect a one-off garden waste collection. Unfortunately, all came back with a resounding no, due to their own driver shortages and backlogs.
“I regret that we did not have time to write to all residents in August when we first suspended our service. We learnt from our mistake and this time, we will be writing a letter to every resident explaining the situation and offering our apologies.
“I’d like to thank you, our residents, for your continued patience, we know it has been difficult, but please bear with us. I am proud of the relatively high recycling rates in South Hams and I want them to get better, not worse. In the meantime, please continue to home compost or take your garden waste to recycling centres.”
So, how do you get rid of your green waste?
Compost your garden waste – here are some www.recycledevon.org/in-the-garden/how-to-compost tips. Please don’t put garden waste in the grey waste bin.
Use recycle centres – All three recycling centres located in the South Hams are operated by Devon County Council and take garden waste. Full details, including opening hours, can be found at: www.devon.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/centre
Use a licensed waste collector who will responsibly take away your garden, or household, waste items. Please check first with the Environment Agency to see if they are registered: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers
Please do not burn your garden waste. The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires, given the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services. You can find out more here: www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyInTheHome/Bonfires
You can find out more from the Executive meeting here: www.southhams.gov.uk/Executive
– Ends –
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Please find below a service update on the current situation with South Hams’ waste and recycling service from FCC Environment.
On 1st April 2019, FCC Environment began providing all waste, recycling collection and street and toilet cleaning services on behalf of South Hams District Council extending the company’s existing contract with West Devon Borough Council to deliver a range of benefits to residents in both communities.
The waste and recycling service in West Devon, which mirrors the system rolled out in South Hams, has been successfully operating for over 10 years and residents have responded well. The new recycling vehicles now in use in South Hams have been in use in West Devon since March 2018.
The new recycling system which is currently being introduced in South Hams is considered ‘best in class’ by many other local authorities in England, has been carefully designed to maximise the amount of materials collected for recycling. The system also delivers improved quality recyclate which means the materials will go on to be recycled into new products.
Behind the scenes this system has been far from easy to implement in South Hams and FCC acknowledge that there have been service issues for some residents for which we apologise. These teething problems have resulted in some residents experiencing missed collections and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience and difficulties this has caused and continues to cause as we work with the council to rectify.
It should also be noted that the system was designed on the basis of recycling vehicles filling up once a day and being emptied at the end of the working day but due to the home working implications of lock downs through 2020-21 and residents saving recycling for the new system to launch, the vehicles can fill up, up to 2 to 3 times a day, so they need to travel back to the depot and unload each time but we are making our way through the implications of such increased volumes.
We are working hard to collect from residents that have been missed and to collect from the harder to reach properties on our rounds and we are getting there but we would ask residents, particularly those who have had repeated missed collections, to bear with us at this time.
We have been questioned about the vehicles being too large for some areas; the vehicles selected to deliver this service are state of the art recycling vehicles and they are sized to maximise the collection of recycling across the District. We do ask residents to follow council advice to place their recycling bins and boxes in the right places for collection. We appreciate for some that this may mean changes to the way their recycling has been collected previously but we ask for your support on this.
We are asking residents to bear with us in the coming weeks while these multi-faceted issues with this complex recycling scheme are ironed out and we remain confident that, once these hurdles have been overcome, that the service we have been contracted to deliver across South Hams and West Devon will deliver all of the benefits promised at the outset.
– FCC Environment
Issued 28 May 2021
A message from DCC:-
Following last night’s announcement about the National Lockdown, DCC would like to confirm that the HWRC’s will remain open however the resale shops will be closed.
The winter opening hours are:
Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
Saturday and Sunday 10:00am to 4:30pm.