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Monday, April 22, 2024

Middlesbrough Council denies pre-empting bins decision

Council moves to clear up concerns amid accusations of pre-empting decision on bin proposals

Middlesbrough Council has denied pre-empting the final decision on waste collection changes after thousands of new bins were stored at a site in the town.

Black and brown bins are lined up at Nature’s World in Acklam, leading some councillors and residents to suggest a decision regarding waste collection changes had already been made. Proposals due to be considered at a meeting of the Full Council on Friday include fortnightly waste collections and a new £40 green waste collection charge

Cllr Graham Wilson. Image: LDRS

The Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association had accused the local authority of “pre-empting” the decision on the proposals, stating the public consultation prior to Friday’s vote was a “slap in the face”. MICA group leader, Mick Saunders, said they were being treated “like fools” while Cllr Graham Wilson shared the view they had been purchased in preparation for the proposed change.

However the local authority said the Executive approved the £1.2m purchase of replacement bins for the town in “a fully transparent decision” in November last year as part of a comprehensive review of waste collection measures. The council currently provides two different types of wheeled bins for household waste and green waste.

The council said different types of vehicles are therefore required which can lead to logistical issues when there are breakdowns. A spokesperson said having the new same style of bins for both types of collections would increase the resilience of the service.

“The council’s Executive approved the purchase of replacement bins in November in a fully transparent decision,” he said. “All councillors will vote on Budget proposals for 2024/25 at a meeting today- Friday, 8 March.

“If the proposed changes to waste and recycling do not come into effect the replacement bins would still be issued. In that event, the replacement bins would contribute to improving the efficiency of the service.

“Vehicle costs would reduce and we would be in a position to collect household waste and garden waste bins using the same vehicles, increasing resilience. If the proposed changes do come into effect, we will provide full information to residents on how they will be affected and how they can help us to improve our recycling rates and reduce costs of waste disposal.”

The council has said fortnightly collections would bring the local authority practice into line with most other councils and would support efforts to also improve recycling rates. Based on the experiences of other authorities, it said it is not expected it would result in a significant increase on fly-tipping.

More than 1,100 responses to a month-long public consultation on the Budget proposals were received; the highest response rate in the last five years. Four consultation events were attended by more than 90 people.

As reported, a controversial proposal to close the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum was subsequently put on hold amid strong public opposition while parking charges at Stewart Park were scrapped. Regarding waste collection, the plan has been amended to include adjustments for those households who require a larger waste bin.

Families of three or more, rather than four or more, will be able to request a 240 litre wheeled bin. Meanwhile, people in Middlesbrough look set to see council tax go up by 4.99 per cent.

It compares to just under four per cent in the previous Budget and is the maximum amount rise the council can levy.

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