No improvement to failed cleaning contract

by Nigel Bakhai on 15 October, 2013

Please find below a copy of my speech to the October 2013 council meeting on the subject of rubbish and recycling services in Ealing:

After 18 months of poor services, residents have had enough. No more excuses.

Enterprise bosses may have come and gone but no-one at Ealing Council has taken responsibility for the failures in this contract.

Indeed, rather than acknowledging a problem Cllr Mahfouz  seems to live in a rose tinted world where, all our rubbish is being collected on time and the council are breaking all known records for cleanliness of its streets. The problem for Cllr Mahfouz is no-one believes him.

Missed collections are still unacceptably high. Averaging around 3000 per month this year. With a high point of nearly 6,000 in January. The failures at the start of the contract last April might have been forgotten or forgiven as teething problems in the handover from May Gurney but these on-going  problems with missed collections are a weekly reminder.

In my ward we have had whole streets where one or more items have been missed in recent weeks.

We have blocks of flats where it appears quite random what will be collected each week if at all. It is a postcode lottery where the prize is when your rubbish gets collected and on the right day.

We have residents saying that they are fed up with reporting missed collections and have just given up on recycling and are now putting all their waste in black bags. Many still haven’t forgotten when Enterprise had to send all the waste to Kent to be sorted making a mockery of all their efforts to separate recyclables prior to collection.

Until today’s announcement, street sweeping often comes before all the rubbish and recycling has been collected. Frequently the collectors don’t clear up their spillages so litter will sit there for a week until the next collection day. The fact that the council is now moving to next day road sweeping shows this wasn’t working.

There have been on-going delays and failures to implement the street washing programme and Enterprise are not held to account for their persistent failures to fulfil their contractual obligations in this regard.

For months we in the Lib Dem group have been calling for the Council to take action to fine Enterprise/Amey for their poor performance and once again we have submitted an amendment to this motion calling on the Council to withhold the maximum sum of money from Enterprise that is contractually possible in order to cover for their failure.

Garden waste is now on offer at £30 for a limited period. Surely, despite Cllr Mahfouz’s claims that numbers using this service are rising, this is an acknowledgement that take up of the collection service is poor in a borough of more than 100,000 homes and the council is desperate to revive this flagging scheme.

We regularly see fly tipping of garden waste dumped around the borough now, more than ever before. Many of my residents with small gardens in particular feel aggrieved at the cost of this scheme. They do not need a weekly or fortnightly collection and refuse to pay £30 or £40 for the privilege and on point of principle would rather drive to Greenford instead

The council spent thousands of pounds on recycling bins for the garden waste which have never been used  The scheme was just not thought through properly by this Labour administration and has been a failure from the beginning. Charging people for collecting their waste on top of their council tax is a disincentive to recycle and just doesn’t work.

The residents of this borough deserve better and performances across the board in all our street services must improve. If not, residents will surely need no reminders about the state of their streets, and who is responsible for appointing these contractors  in the run up to the elections next May.

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