Exmouth rubbish costs

May 03, 2011 1:21 PM

Confirmation that at least one West Country council’s green agenda is neither popular nor efficient comes from Exmouth in Devon. It was bad enough when their weekly refuse collection was changed to fortnightly, but then residents of the local area known as the Colony were all issued with the same size 180-litre bins, whether they are single people living alone or a family of four.

Families were promised they could keep their 240-litre bins, but have now been told they have to use the smaller bins and are advised to deposit their larger bins at a recycling centre or use them as water butts. If families are unable to squeeze all their refuse into the one bin and it is left a little open, the collectors will not pick it up and families are being left with enormous mounds of uncollected garbage.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Careful now"][/caption]

This reached a crisis point during the winter when many residents left out extra garbage in black bin bags that were not picked up. The residents were then blamed by the council for the unsightly mess — rather than the refuse collectors who should have used common sense to pick up all bagged-up rubbish.

On top of this, residents of the Colony were unhappy when their usual refuse collections from service lanes at the back of their houses were switched to kerbside collections from the front. ‘I have been fighting them since October to reinstate our back street collection,’ says Wendy O’Brien. ‘I have posted the Chief Executive 364 letters of complaint from the Colony — out of 500 residences.’

It’s not as though any of this is saving any money either. Over the last year, the increased costs of Devon County Council’s waste management includes an extra £180,000 per annum required by SITA, the garbage handlers, for extra vehicles and drivers. Indeed, the Corporate Director of SITA asked for additional costs to be dealt with on an ‘open book’ basis — is that the same as an ‘open cheque book’? In addition to this, the closure of a transfer station meant that Exeter City Council was expecting extra refuse collection costs of £1 million a year.Confirmation that at least one West Country council’s green agenda is neither popular nor efficient comes from Exmouth in Devon. It was bad enough when their weekly refuse collection was changed to fortnightly, but then residents of the local area known as the Colony were all issued with the same size 180-litre bins, whether they are single people living alone or a family of four.

Families were promised they could keep their 240-litre bins, but have now been told they have to use the smaller bins and are advised to deposit their larger bins at a recycling centre or use them as water butts. If families are unable to squeeze all their refuse into the one bin and it is left a little open, the collectors will not pick it up and families are being left with enormous mounds of uncollected garbage.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Careful now"][/caption]

This reached a crisis point during the winter when many residents left out extra garbage in black bin bags that were not picked up. The residents were then blamed by the council for the unsightly mess — rather than the refuse collectors who should have used common sense to pick up all bagged-up rubbish.

On top of this, residents of the Colony were unhappy when their usual refuse collections from service lanes at the back of their houses were switched to kerbside collections from the front. ‘I have been fighting them since October to reinstate our back street collection,’ says Wendy O’Brien. ‘I have posted the Chief Executive 364 letters of complaint from the Colony — out of 500 residences.’

It’s not as though any of this is saving any money either. Over the last year, the increased costs of Devon County Council’s waste management includes an extra £180,000 per annum required by SITA, the garbage handlers, for extra vehicles and drivers. Indeed, the Corporate Director of SITA asked for additional costs to be dealt with on an ‘open book’ basis — is that the same as an ‘open cheque book’? In addition to this, the closure of a transfer station meant that Exeter City Council was expecting extra refuse collection costs of £1 million a year.

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