U-turn over Rugby green bin collections

Green bin
Green bin

Green bin collections will start again after Rugby Borough Council brokered a funding deal to resume the service.

The council had suspended collections of green waste for three months over winter in an effort to save £25,000. However it was announced today (Friday) that Warwickshire County Council had struck a deal to fund the shortfall and that the service would start again.

The announcement by the Conservative-run authority to suspend green bin collections had angered residents and opposition councillors, who argued that and saving RBC was making would just be passed onto the county council instead.

A borough council spokesman said all households will receive a collection in the weeks beginning January 23 or 30 – depending on their collection round – which is around a month earlier than planned. The council will deliver new waste collection calendars to residents in the week beginning January 9, 2017. Proposals to charge residents for green bin collections are still up for consideration.

The agreement follows discussions between the authorities led by the borough council’s cross-party Waste Management Services working party. The agreement will see Warwickshire County Council provide a partnership grant of £25,000 to fund some of the changes, giving RBC sufficient funding to restart green bin collections earlier.

Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, and chair of the cross-party Waste Management Services working party, said: “I would like to thank Warwickshire County Council’s representatives for their contribution to the working party, and in particular for recognising the long-term benefits of remodelling our waste collection rounds during the suspension period.

“This agreement demonstrates that the working party is able to make a real difference to services that affect residents, and I would urge all councillors to support its work.”

Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for environment and Chair of the Warwickshire Waste Partnership, added: “It is fantastic that, through effective partnership working arrangements, Rugby’s green waste collection can continue after the festive period.”

Opposition councillors welcomed the news but were critical of RBC for taking the initial decision to suspend green bin collection.

Leader of Rugby Labour Group, Cllr Claire Edwards said: “This is great news for local residents that the Conservative council has scrapped the suspension of green waste collections in Rugby over the winter off the back of a successful community campaign from Labour.

“This just goes to show how important – and effective – local community campaigns can be. People were rightly angered by a very poor decision by the Conservatives and their voice has been heard and common sense has, thankfully, prevailed. This should be a lesson to the Tories – they can’t make unilateral decisions – residents in Rugby are too shrewd and they won’t stand for it.

“People are also incredibly angry about further Tory proposals to start charging for green bin collections next year. Labour has listened to local people and we will also be fighting this proposal – which amounts to little more than a garden tax.”

Leader of the local Liberal Democrats Cllr Jerry Roodhouse described the whole situation as “complete and utter chaos”.

He said: “We welcome the fact that the suspension has been stopped but we should never have been in here in the first place.”

Cllr Roodhouse said that the situation could have been avoided if RBC had talked to the waste partnership at the very beginning.

He added: “Perhaps the portfolio holder needs to apologise to the people of Rugby and consider their position.”