Have your say on the future of bin collections
Derbyshire Dales residents are being urged to have their say on possible changes to their waste and recycling collections before a public consultation closes on 23 September.
The District Council, which organises collections across 34,000 Dales households, has started the process of shaping the future collection service ahead of the current contract with Serco ending in August 2020.
The online survey has been promoted widely and shared with all parish councils in the Dales since it was launched on 14 August. Available together with a list of frequently asked questions about the waste review at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/wastereviewFAQs, it has already been completed by well over 1,700 people.
A District Council spokesperson said: “The first thing to reiterate is that no decisions have yet been taken, but these are challenging times.
“The current waste collection contract costs the District Council approximately £1.9 million per year but we know this could rise significantly due to increased service delivery costs, changes in the value of recyclable material and the level of liability bidders are likely to accept.
“The challenge facing the council is striking a balance of meeting our residents’ needs against the provision of an affordable service. We can achieve this by considering options that maintain our levels of recycling, encourage greater recycling, or reclaim some costs to help us afford the current collection frequency.
“One of the big questions residents are asking is why there isn’t an option in the online survey to leave things as they are. The answer is simple: even though we are not ruling out keeping things the same, we do not want to set false expectations.
“The status quo might not be affordable, so it is essential to review other possible alternatives. That’s why we are consulting the public – to help us understand what aspects of the waste and recycling collection scheme are most important to them and which possible alternatives they would be willing to consider. Without this information, we will be solely relying on market information and affordability to design a specification.”
The Derbyshire Dales currently achieves a 57% recycling rate – the best in Derbyshire – but the UK has a legislative target to meet 65% recycling in the future, which means the District Council has to consider further measures to increase its recycling performance.
Options being considered include charging for garden waste collections in line with many other councils in the UK and reducing general household waste collections from fortnightly to every three or four weeks, which has been proven in other areas to increase recycling rates and make the waste service more affordable.
Waste collection costs, on average, £34.63 per household a year – just under 67p a week – and represents 20% of what households pay to the District Council in Council Tax.
The spokesperson added: “Successive central government grant cuts – including a further £637,000 reduction for 2018/19 – mean we need more money to continue to provide the frontline services residents expect. The level of government grant we receive will have reduced from £3.5m in 2013/14 to £0.5m by 2020/21, which means, even after making substantial savings in recent times, we have to find additional ongoing savings of £700,000 over the next three years.
“That’s the stark reality of the District Council’s financial position and something councillors will be taking account of when they meet on 29 November to decide on the preferred service option from August 2020.”
Immediately following that meeting work will begin drafting the tender specification for the new waste and recycling contract.