Agenda item

Grass Cutting Policy


That the Committee recommends approval of the Council’s revised Grass

Cutting Policy to Cabinet with the recommendations as noted in the 

powerpoint presentation.



The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report to seek a recommendation from the Committee to Cabinet to approve the changes to the Waste Collections Policy following the 2015/16 Business Planning process.  He provided background information and referred to the main considerations in the report which summarised the changes to the existing Policy. 


The Chief Officer introduced Harvey Mitchell, Waste Manager, and invited him to give a presentation on the review of the Waste Collections Policy.  The main points of the presentation were as follows:


·         Household Recycling Centre’s (HRC’s)

·         Missed collections

·         Garden Waste Service

·         Bulky Waste Service

·         7 day collections

·         Replacement containers


Councillor Cindy Hinds thanked the Community Councils for their contributions to the Workshops held the previous week.  She expressed concerns about Hope Recycling Centre and asked if it  could remain open at weekends.  The Chief Officer advised that the Centre had the lowest footfall and poorest recycling rates of all Centres. 


Councillor Nancy Matthews suggested that point 3.38 of the report relating to collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s day needed to be made clearer within the policy. Councillor Matthews also asked if the van permits could be extended to 4 sites.  She expressed concerns that the draft  policy still allowed for side waste to be collected, and said she was uncomfortable with the proposals for Sunday collections. 


The Chief Officer advised that Greenfield and Mold were the largest sites and additional staffing resources were made available.  He explained that there would be cost implications in relation to staffing for other sites to accommodate van permits.


Councillor Ian Dunbar sought clarification regarding yellow stickers on bins for assisted collections.   He advised that on occasions there were problems at the Connah's Quay site due to traffic queues when the skips were being emptied. 


The Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection & Leisure advised that  yellow stickers should no longer be in use.  He explained that assisted collections were agreed between the individual and the relevant team.  He acknowledged that servicing the sites had caused some problems but that every effort would be made to ensure that traffic continued to flow.


Councillor David Evans referred to the need to provide a household bill when collecting replacement containers.   He felt this was unnecessary and expressed concern that this  may create problems for residents and discourage them to recycle or result in fly-tipping.  He also requested data on fly tipping for Flintshire and emphasised the need to monitor fly-tipping if changes were implemented.   Councillor Evans emphasised the need for waste containers to be returned to their point of origin.


The Waste Manager stated that the cost of replacement containers was considerable.  He advised that historic data on fly tipping was available and would be included in performance reports in future.  He said it would be the responsibility of the charge-hand in future to ensure that the waste containers were returned appropriately.


Councillor Haydn Bateman expressed concerns regarding Sunday collections and asked which areas would be affected.  The Waste Manager reported that the  vast majority of people would continue to  have their bin collected on the same day that they currently do, however, it was envisaged that the collections would be in the North West of Flintshire.


Councillor Bateman asked for further information regarding bag splitting at the Recycling Centres.  The Cabinet Member explained that the staff would be recycling the contents and opening the bags.  He reminded Members of the visit  to the Household Recycling Centre (HRC) site at Sandycroft which was scheduled to take place at the end of March 2015.


Councillor Chris Dolphin asked how many charge-hands would be appointed.  He also asked for information on the cost of Saturday and Sunday collections and how this would result in efficiencies.  Councillor Dolphin queried why it was not possible to state that collections would take place in the morning or afternoon rather than after 7am as was stated in the Policy.  He expressed the view that the Policy was weighted against residents and said he had serious reservations about doubling the collections on a Saturday and the introduction of a Sunday collection.   In his response the Waste Manager advised that the cost savings were mainly around vehicle costs and he agreed to provide a breakdown of the proposed savings. 


The Cabinet Member for Environment emphasised that the Policy had yet to be agreed by Cabinet and was still at the consultation stage.  He said that he was listening to the views expressed and the comments made by Members would be given due consideration prior to the final decision being made. 


The Chief Officer advised that an evaluation was currently taking place to determine how many charge-hands would be required.  Councillor Dolphin requested that local members be provided with contact details for the charge-hands when appointed.


Councillor Ray Hughes asked that further consideration be given to continuing the household recycling service at Hope. 


Councillor Joe Johnson referred to problems concerning which vehicles were allowed to  visit the  HRC Centres. The Waste Manager advised that that  signs would be displayed to  clearly indicate which vehicles were allowed at each site.


Councillor Peter Curtis asked how information would be communicated to residents when the changes to the Policy were finalised. He welcomed the suggestion of morning and afternoon collections.  The Chief Officer agreed that communication was key to the successful implementation of any changes and that the relevant information would be communicated to residents prior to the implementation of any changes.


Councillor Peter Curtis referred to the discounts available for the elderly and people who received benefits and expressed concern that there may be some people in paid employment who may not earn as much as someone in receipt of a benefit. 


Councillor Veronica Gay referred to the potential for disputes over missed collections and asked for a robust system to be put in place to evidence what steps had taken place.  The Waste Manager explained that proof of sign-off would be available.  Councillor Gay also asked that further consideration be given to allowing van permit holders to use the Sandycroft site to ensure  geographical balance of provision across Flintshire.  She referred to a problem with fly-tipping of tyres in the Saltney area which was a cause for concern.  The Waste Manager said that the point made about the Sandycroft site would be taken into consideration.


The Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure,   welcomed Members comments and suggestions but emphasised that due to budget constraints the Authority had to make significant savings and work more efficiently.


Councillor Richard Jones expressed concerns that the Committee was being asked to recommend approval of Policy changes to Cabinet  without a  sufficient level of  financial  or economic detail to make an informed recommendation.  Councillor Jones also asked why the  Council would to continue to collect its own trade waste rather than to outsource it based on the trade waste proposals and the suggested ability of private operators to deliver a more competitive service.  The Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure responded that if outsourcing could deliver a more efficient service this would be given further consideration.


Councillor Tim Newhouse proposed that Hope Recycling Centre became a Recycling Only Centre and  reduced its operating hours to weekends only from 10.00 a.m.  to  6.00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays,  as from the earliest possible date.  He requested that a recorded vote be taken on his proposal.


The Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure,   advised that Cabinet would be making the final decision and if the decision was to be Called-In to the Committee then it would be appropriate to take a recorded vote.


Councillor Newhouse proposed that the recommendation  be added to the current recommendation within the report.


The Chair emphasised that the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, and the Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection & Leisure, had undertaken to consider all the suggestions put forward at both the workshops and at the meeting prior to a final decision being taken by Cabinet.




That the Committee recommends approval of the Council’s revised Grass

Cutting Policy to Cabinet with the recommendations as noted in the 

powerpoint presentation.


Supporting documents: