More than 2,000 tonnes of garden waste collected by Central Beds Council as it caught up with backlog

Food waste collections were temporarily suspended so the council could catch up with the backlog

By Laura Hutchinson
Friday, 19th November 2021, 4:22 pm
Central Beds Council was forced to suspend garden waste collections over the summer due to HGV driver shortages
Central Beds Council was forced to suspend garden waste collections over the summer due to HGV driver shortages

Central Bedfordshire Council collected 2,239 tonnes of green waste during its one-off garden waste collection last month, a meeting heard.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno (Conservative, Arlesey Ward) the executive member for community services, gave the council's Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee an update on the recent green waste collection.

"Obviously, you know we stopped the food waste collections for a period so that we could go back and collect and clear green waste," he said.

"In a normal four week period on green waste collection we collect, on average, 1,631 tonnes.

"During the two weeks that we collected green waste we actually picked up 2,239 tonnes.

"There were a few streets missed on odd days, but we had the teams working Saturdays and Sundays and managed to clear the backlog," he said.

Councillor Dalgarno added that most people continued to put their food waste in the brown bins during the two weeks and it was collected when this went back to normal.

Councillor David McVicar (Conservative, Dunstable Icknield Ward) said that councils charging for green waste collection has been flagged in the media: "I don't know whether you dare tell me Ian [Dalgarno] that you're never going to charge for green waste.

"We collect rubbish anyway, so why shouldn't we collect green waste free of charge? I would hope in the wisdom of the executive they decide they’re not going to charge for green waste in the foreseeable future," he said.

Councillor Dalgarno replied: "The council has a statutory duty to collect waste, but it doesn't have a statutory duty to collect green waste, which is why many authorities across the UK actually do charge.

"We have endeavoured and continue to endeavour to provide that service to our residents within the cost of their council tax," he said.

Councillor Charles Gomm (Conservative, Flitwick Ward) wondered when the service would start again.

"Normally around this time of year it would have been suspended anyway," Councillor Dalgarno said.

"We're planning to make sure that we reinstate the service at the normal period in 2022.

"But obviously we work within the same context of making sure we’ve got drivers because that situation has not fully resolved itself as yet," he added.

Councillor John Baker (Independent, Aspley and Woburn Ward) asked about suspending food waste during the winter to allow for extra green waste collections.

"Obviously this would require consultation, I have absolutely no idea how popular or unpopular this would be," he said.

"Would this be a sensible and economic way of perhaps delivering garden waste collection during the winter months when there is less of it, and that’s one of the justifications for not running the service?

"And to actually provide that service to residents to a minimal extra cost to the authority?" he asked.

Councillor Dalgarno replied: "It's not something that we’ve looked at in the past, it is something that I will talk to officers about, thank you for the suggestion."

The committee was told that officers are now working to make sure that the Christmas tree collection process in place and this will be advertised nearer the time.