by Roger Gambba-Jones – portfolio holder for waste management at South Holland District Council
Having just watched ITV’s Wigan-based Don’t Blame the Council programme, I thought readers might be interested to hear how South Holland District Council’s waste service is approaching these issues.
Firstly, I must point out that, unlike the Wigan Council collectors, our staff are not sat around twiddling their thumbs at the end of their rounds. As one of the few remaining councils providing a weekly collection service, we need to make sure we are as efficient as possible.
Collecting in bags plays a big part of this, as our loaders do not have to drag a wheelie bin to the truck, wait for it to empty and then return it to the property. This means that our trucks can visit up to 1,200 properties a day in our more urban areas. In the very rural areas, they still manage to reach around 1,000 properties a day. I must also pay tribute to the skills of a now retired member of staff, Mick Ashworth, who almost single-handedly designed our outstandingly efficient collection rounds.
The figures above would be significantly lower if we collected in wheelie bins and therefore the cost of the service considerably higher. Like many other councils, Wigan’s answer to this issue is to have fortnightly collections, something residents tell us they don’t want. Weekly collections using wheelie bins just doesn’t make financial sense and South Holland District Council is not considering this option.
Our approach is to progress a paid-for green waste collection – a more detailed survey will be carried out in the near future.
We will also be looking at what opportunities there might be to provide other waste collection services. In order to protect council services and keep at tight rein on council tax, South Holland District Council as a whole will also be looking for other revenue generating opportunities.