OWLs write “Three weeks later, and the BLUE BIN confusion gets worse. We still hear of vulnerable people being charged for a new blue bin. Despite repeated requests, no one has had a satisfactory response from the Council – we’ve contacted the officers, elected councillors and Labour portfolio holder. Zip. Nada. Nothing.
“There isn’t even an official estimate of how many people will continue with blue boxes due to “design or access” issues.
“Some of the most vulnerable people are being charged an unfair £25 for a new bin to replace the smaller blue box quite possibly due to poor leadership from the Labour administration.
“The Useless Conservatives continue to live up to their moniker and remain silent.
“As ever, it is OWL putting residents first and foremost. We’re pressing very hard for some sensible answers. “When the blue bin was introduced, many residents, especially in smaller households or with limited space chose and were given the option to remain with the blue box. Now the council is forcing the switch to a blue bin it is unjust to demand £25. Many will understandably refuse to pay this charge which is unfair as it is the council which is enforcing the change. What this means is that more glass, plastic and cans will end up in the general waste while recycling will reduce in these households at a time when we should be boosting recycling of plastics and other items”.
Does the buck stop with elected members? The policy on blue boxes and bags is published by WLBC “Blue boxes will only be collected from those properties that have to remain on a box collection due to their design or vehicle access issues. Blue bags will only be collected from those properties that have to remain on a sack collection due to their design or vehicle access issues”.
Or does the buck stop with senior officers? “Management of the Council. Around 620 people work for the Council, making us one of the borough’s biggest employers. The Council delivers a wide range of services across the whole of West Lancashire including housing, planning, refuse and recycling collections, leisure, environmental health and economic development”.
Kim Webber. Chief Executive of the Council and Head of Paid Services. Annual Salary including election fees £108,539. Pension contributions £17,055. Total £125,594. Has 451.74 Full Time Employees within her service area.
Heidi McDougall. Director of Leisure and Environment Services. In post since March 2016. Annual salary not confirmed but believed to be £78,515 [pension contributions not confirmed] Has 131.25 Full Time Employees within her service area. Street scene strategy, transport, fleet maintenance, street cleaning, grounds maintenance, gardening, refuse and recyclables collections, commercial waste collections, bulky collections, weighbridge and transfer facility. Leisure, health and wellbeing strategy, environmental protection, public protection, licensing, commercial safety, corporate health and safety, community safety, emergency planning.
Over £200,000 paid to the two senior officers who seem not to be on top of delivering waste policy? Too much for failure? Probably.