Last Word: Thumbs up for fortnightly rubbish collections
THE news that Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) is to introduce fortnightly rubbish collections in November is kicking up a stink, writes Louise McEvoy. Residents seem to believe they are entitled to weekly rubbish collections because they pay council tax.
THE news that Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) is to introduce fortnightly rubbish collections in November is kicking up a stink, writes Louise McEvoy.
Residents seem to believe they are entitled to weekly rubbish collections because they pay council tax.
But the fact is the council's coffers are not limitless. The recession will have affected SBC's revenue streams this year, and it must cut its coat according to its cloth.
To prevent putting an additional burden on residents struggling during the economic downturn, the council announced last week that it is to freeze its council tax precept for the coming financial year.
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No doubt this news has been met with widespread approval from residents, but it seems they want it all - a zero per cent rise in council tax and maintenance of the same level of service, including weekly rubbish collections.
For a Band C property - which the majority of homes in Stevenage are - SBC receives �167.57 per year.
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This money helps pay for countless services, such as cleaning neighbourhood shopping areas, emptying bins, recycling, providing CCTV, providing meals for the elderly and for people with disabilities, and determining more than 500 planning applications each year.
This money also goes towards the cost of processing thousands of benefit claims each month, providing community transport for the elderly and disabled, re-housing families, detecting benefit fraud, and supporting voluntary organisations within the town.
The list of services provided by SBC goes on, and the council tax precept to me represents value for money.
When it comes to fortnightly rubbish collections, there are those concerned about hygiene.
The fact the council is to introduce wheelie bins in place of black sacks is certainly a direct improvement as far as hygiene is concerned.
If the lid to a wheelie bin is properly closed, animals cannot access rubbish and flies will not be able to lay eggs and cause an infestation of maggots.
Living within an area controlled by North Herts District Council, my rubbish has been collected on a fortnightly basis for a long time and it has never posed any problem.
People in North Herts have the option of disposing of their food waste in their brown recycling bins or their grey rubbish bins - which are collected on alternate weeks - so can effectively have kitchen waste collected weekly if desired. The same system will be in place in Stevenage come November.
Fortnightly rubbish collections do mean bins will be fuller by the time they are emptied, but this will surely encourage residents to think twice before binning recyclable material.
We should all be looking to reduce our carbon footprint, and if fortnightly rubbish collections encourage people to be more discerning about what they send to landfill and what they recycle, this can only be a good thing.
My only quibble with SBC regarding the introduction of fortnightly rubbish collections is that the scheme is not due to be rolled out until November. Why wait? Let's start helping to save the planet today.