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Rubbish refuse and recycling service

by Nigel Bakhai on 8 May, 2012

Please find below a copy of the text of my speech to the May 2012 special council meeting into the problems with the new waste and recycling contract:-

Mr Mayor, I rise to second the Lib Dem amendment

Rubbish

That’s the first word that comes to mind when residents are asked what they think of the council’s refuse and recycling collections in recent weeks.

Many of the residents in my ward that I have spoken to initially accepted the council’s apologies for the “teething problems” in the first week that Enterprise took over the waste and recycling contract.

However, a large number of my constituents are starting to have more serious doubts about Enterprise and the council’s handling of this contract now that several of these problems still seem to be going on a month later.

Here are just some of the issues that my constituents in Elthorne ward have had to face:-

Food waste not collected for 4 weeks running

Rubbish not collected in 3 weeks out of the last 4

Collectors telling residents that they don’t recycle shoes or clothing

Items and containers being thrown back into residents’ gardens

Rubbish being left in the road because road sweeping is not happening as it should on the day after rubbish and recycling has been collected

Bulk items still not collected for two months after payment

Paid for garden waste is not being collected and the council seems to have no records that the residents have paid

Requests for new white sacks for plastics recycling being ignored and then delivered to the wrong address

A general lack of response or slow response to complaints.

A number of residents, including another one in my inbox today, have also questioned why they bother to sort waste out when it is just being chucked in the back of a dumpster with a risk of contamination.

These are just a small section of the concerns raised with me and there is a general feeling in my ward that standards of street cleanliness are slipping across West Ealing and Hanwell, and I know Cllr Malcolm has faced similar problems in Southfield ward and that there have been issues in other parts of the borough.

Ealing, once known as “Queen of the Suburbs” is starting to look a little grubby. Many residents accepted that the council needed to change contractor to save money, but they are beginning to feel that the council has sacrificed quality to reduce its costs.

Residents are now asking what due diligence was done by the council in negotiating the contract with Enterprise and in ensuring that everything was in place by the start of April.

Some are even questioning why the council is not looking to change contractor already.

We welcome this meeting and this debate.

However, we feel it does not go far enough. 15 minutes of staged questions from Labour members is not long enough.

The Lib Dem amendment and our petition being handed in this evening is therefore calling for proper, and more importantly, public scrutiny into the council’s handling of the change over from May Gurney to Enterprise.

Residents deserve to hear a public apology from and to have their opportunity to question Enterprise as well as the councillors and council officers responsible for managing this contract.

They deserve answers as to why the council and Enterprise were so under-prepared at the start of April.

Why did Enterprise not have enough staff?

Why did they not have the right type of vehicles in place to collect from narrow streets like those in Olde Hanwell?

They, and we, want to know what meetings the council had, both councillors and officers, with Enterprise and what assurances the council were given by Enterprise?

Residents need to be re-assured that the current problems with the recycling and refuse collection will be sorted and fast.

Furthermore, they want to know that the council learns the lessons from this current catastrophe to prevent the same problems happening again in the future.

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