Wokingham Liberal Democrats say the changes to the Waste Collection Service agreed by the Conservatives last night do not go far enough. Residents have consistently called for improvements, but the Conservatives have introduced only minimal changes. The Lib Dems say that many problems with the new service could have been avoided altogether if the Conservatives had been willing to listen at the start.
Councillor Lindsay Ferris said “The new waste scheme was poorly thought-out and badly implemented. The Conservatives are now bringing in stronger, larger blue bags that will fit dustbins, but why did they get it wrong in the first place? A proper blue bag pilot scheme would have shown up the problems. Handing out a few blue bags to Tory councillors was never going to be a sensible way to conduct a trial. ”
Cllr Prue Bray, Lib Dem leader said “The Tories still aren’t listening to what residents want. They have no proposals to widen doorstep recycling and they are not reducing the cost of the garden waste scheme, not even for pensioners and people on low incomes. This is just not good enough.
The Conservatives’ response to any suggestion is always to say that the Council has no money, but Wokingham is spending £54 per property for its waste collection, while Cambridge does theirs for only £37 – why are Wokingham council tax payers not getting a better deal? ”
One decision at the meeting did meet with Lib Dem approval. The Conservatives had intended to pay an extra £30,000 each year for the blue bags simply to cover the cost of Veolia switching suppliers. Thanks to pressure from Lib Dem Councillor Lindsay Ferris, Veolia will now bear this cost. Cllr Ferris said “Why should council tax payers foot the bill for Veolia’s problem with their supplier? This would have cost residents in the region of £200,000 over the remaining 6 years of the contract. I cannot believe the Conservatives showed such commercial incompetence.”