Councillors clash over proposals for fewer weekly waste collections in Wrexham

Reporter:

Geraint Jones

A councillor vowed to oppose any moves in the direction of fewer weekly waste collections.

Cllr Graham Rogers voiced his concerns as Wrexham Council’s home and environment scrutiny committee went over a raft of proposals aimed at saving nearly £14 million over the next two financial years.

Council chiefs proposed a review of residual (black bin) waste collection frequency in its latest Difficult Decisions consultation.

But Cllr Rogers told executive board member Cllr David A Bithell and council leader Mark Pritchard that they could rest assured the council would not get his support if it “even contemplated” moving to three or four-weekly collections, adding the current situation “leaves a lot to be desired”.

 He added he dreaded to think what the situation would be like if such changes were made as Wrexham was “a disgrace as it is”.

Cllr Pritchard said he took exception to Cllr Rogers’ statement about Wrexham, adding fortnightly collections were currently provided and no political decision had taken place in relation to any change.

He added that Welsh Government cabinet member and Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths was “pushing this through recycling targets”.

He added: “We are being forced down this direction. I’m not saying we’re going to go down it.”

Plaid councillor Carrie Harper said the budget consultation item on waste collection did not specifically mention three or four-weekly collections.

She said she would be concerned if the authority were to use the consultation as evidence for changing the frequency of the collections, as it was not clear.

Cllr Bithell, lead member for environment and transport, said the review was clear and mentioned the need to meet Welsh Government recycling targets and improve service efficiency.

The committee also discussed proposals to introduce a £30 annual charge for collecting from each additional second green bin, with the first free.

Cllr Dana Davies, leader of the council’s Welsh Labour group, raised concerns that green waste would be included in black bins.

Cllr Bithell suggested people could also use the council’s three recycling centres to dispose of the waste.

Wrexham Council chiefs have identified a £15,000 saving in year one, based on an assumed 30 per cent take-up rate.

Lawrence Isted, head of environment and planning, added the proposal might encourage people to compost more.  

Other budget proposals discussed at the meeting included introducing a £1 charge at town centre car parks for council staff and members, as well as imposing a £1 charge for visitors to country parks and charging blue badge holders for off-street car parks.

Another item on the agenda was the proposed increase in cremation charges by £50 from £663 to £713.

A total of 3,622 responses were received during the consultation, which will be collated and analysed and fed back to councillors at a workshop on December 19 and executive board on January 9.

Members will make final decisions on next year’s budget at a full council in February.

Email:

geraint.jones@nwn.co.uk

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