Lid will be lifted on bin row once more

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Councillors in Ashfield are fighting for a rethink over the decision to slash household waste bin sizes following the EU referendum.

They have suggested recycling targets behind the move will not be in place when Britain leaves the European Union as a result of the referendum result last month.

A number of Ashfield residents were furious when the council reduced their grey bins in size from 240 litres to 180 litres earlier this year, as part of a bid to achieve the national target of 50 per cent of waste being recycled by 2020 and also cutting the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

The council says it has already saved 21 per cent extra waste since the scheme began in March, processing 84 tonnes more recyclable materials and 720 tonnes of extra garden waste.

But more than 7,000 people signed petitions against the move in February – the largest mass correspondence ever with Ashfield District Council over any issue.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Independents member for Larwood, and Councillor Ben Bradley, Conservative member for Hucknall North, presented separate petitions asking for alternative recycling methods and that the debate be reopened for proper public consultation.

Now, Coun Zadrozny and Coun Tom Hollis, Ashfield Independents member for Ashfields, are due to set out a motion at the next full council meeting, tomorrow, Thursday, July 21.

They will set out a motion to assemble a cross-party working group to review the changes, their impact on residents and their effectiveness.

The motion reads: “Many residents remain unhappy with the new system and struggle with the new reduced capacity for residual waste.

“Ashfield residents are simultaneously some of the best recyclers in the country and some of the highest payers of council tax.

“The result of the EU referendum will mean the European Union will not be setting recycling targets or fines for the district, as previously feared by the administration.

“Internal reports from the council demonstrate it would be possible to have weekly collections of residual waste while maintaining all other collections for under £500,000 per year.”

The motion from Coun Zadrozny and Coun Hollis urges Ashfield District Council to look at all options for changes to waste collections, including weekly residual waste collections, increased capacity for commercial collection and changes to vehicles to consider using split lorries.

It also seeks cross-party consensus on future waste collection and to create an ambitious plan which would see the district achieving its targets for increased recycling while balancing that with the expectations of the public.

Ashfield District Council said Ashfield’s recycling rate had risen to 50 per cent for the first time in May and an independent survey suggested there was no appetite among residents for a weekly service. A spokesman said that weekly collections could cost up to £1.5m per year and this might mean significant and disastrous cuts to other service areas.

“The suggestion that split-bodied vehicles could be used fails to recognise the operational challenges this would create and even if it was financially achievable the efficiency of the service would plummet.”