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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 17th April, 2012

 

Report of the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

 

Kerbside Recycling Arrangements - An Update

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To consider the success of recently introduced kerbside recycling arrangements and their affects on residents living in multiple occupancy dwellings.

2.             To update Committee on the position concerning incentive schemes aimed at promoting kerbside recycling.

Recommendations

1.             That Committee note the significant improvement in recycling performance since the full roll out of weekly kitchen waste collections and the co-mingled collection of dry recyclables.

2.             That Committee note the success achieved to date in improving recycling collection and storage arrangements for multiple occupancy dwellings and the further bespoke arrangements planned for the future.

3.             That a further report be provided to this Committee on conclusion of the audit of waste and recycling issues for multiple occupancy dwellings.

4.             That Committee note the work planned to commence in May 2012, to assist in informing initiatives and incentive schemes aimed at further encouraging kerbside recycling during 2012/13.

Reasons for the Recommendations

3.             To advise Committee of current recycling performance.

4.             To note the successes in matching the new recycling services to the demands of multiple occupancy dwellings and the work planned to improve this further on a site by site basis.

5.             To advise Committee of the reasons for recycling problems in these types of properties and to propose appropriate bespoke solutions where necessary.

6.             To ensure that the barriers to recycling in specific geographic areas are known so that any initiatives or incentive schemes can be properly designed and targeted.

Background

7.             At its meeting of 6th December 2011, Committee requested an update on the recent new recycling arrangements and also an update on recycling incentives. A number of Members also requested that consideration be given to how recycling facilities can be provided at premises of multiple occupancy and that both the Housing and Planning Departments be reminded of the need to address waste issues when considering applications / issues in their service areas.

8.             At its meeting of 14th March 2012 Cabinet were advised of the significant increase in recycling performance as a result of changes to kerbside recycling arrangements over the past 18 months. This report was referred to this Scrutiny Committee and considered on 27th March 2012.

9.             As Committee have now effectively received the update required on recycling performance, this report specifically considers the remaining issues of 'incentive schemes', 'recycling arrangements for multiple occupancy dwellings' and the 'consideration of waste arrangements' in terms of planning and social housing provision. These issues are considered in order.

Relevant Issues and Options

Incentive Schemes

10.        On 8th February 2011 this Committee considered a report provided at the request of Councillor R. F Curtis, concerning the use of incentive schemes to encourage recycling. This report was later considered by Cabinet where it was resolved to introduce incentive schemes aimed at improving recycling performance on a trial basis for 12 months commencing 1st October 2011 (Min. no. C1243, Cabinet 16th March 2011).

11.        At the time of the 'request for consideration' the Council's recycling performance had reached a plateaux and there appeared little prospect of achieving the future 52% recycling target for 2012/13.

12.        Various incentive schemes were considered, with Elected Members favouring a combination of a recycling lottery and awards based on the performance of individual communities / wards. With most improving communities / wards recognised in addition to the best performers.

13.        Officers have undertaken preparatory work for both types of scheme but neither has been introduced to date due to the significant service change to co-mingling on 16th September 2011. In order to properly gauge the success of any incentive scheme you need a position of stability, in effect a datum point from which to measure its effectiveness.

14.        It would not have been appropriate to introduce an incentive scheme at the same time as the change to co-mingling as it would have been impossible to establish whether any improvement was as a result of the service change or the incentive scheme. The introduction of any incentive schemes has therefore been delayed and, on request, this position has been communicated to Councillor Curtis via e-mail.

15.        Officers will now consider the introduction of any relevant incentive schemes during 2012/13. As the success of such schemes is even more important than ever, it is imperative that the barriers to recycling are properly reviewed and considered, so that any scheme is 'fit for purpose' and that the funding expended provides tangible and measurable benefits.

16.        To assist, officers have commissioned a study by a University Graduate to investigate ways of incentivising recycling in a particular geographic area. The study will form the dissertation for a Masters degree and will involve a case study of the Gibbonsdown area.  This area was chosen as there are low levels of recycling collected compared to the proportion of the residual waste (black bag waste), placed out for collection. Also many properties do not 'front' the highway which makes the successful use of personal recycling receptacles more difficult. The details of the study are attached at Appendix A.

17.        This study is due to be completed by the end of October 2012 and in the meantime officers will be gathering similar information from a traditionally high recycling performance area, and Cowbridge has been chosen as a suitable area.

18.        The outcome of these studies and the suggested role of incentive schemes as a consequence, will be referred to Cabinet and this Committee, by the end of 2012.

Recycling Arrangements for Multiple Occupancy Dwellings

19.        One of the problems that weekly co-mingled recycling sought to address was that of insufficient storage. As recyclable materials, and in particular bulky items such as plastic and cardboard, no longer needs to be stored for two weeks the requirements for storage for dry recycling have reduced. However the move to fortnightly black bag collections has affected residents with less storage space and has detrimentally affected residents who have chosen not to use the kitchen waste service and / or the weekly dry recycling services.

20.        The problem is a mixture of storage capacity and, on occasions a refusal to use the services available. There is therefore no 'one size fits all' solution to the problem and all multiple occupancy dwellings should be considered on their relative merits, with residents fully involved in discussions as regards possible solutions. Such discussions should not involve any consideration of a move back to weekly collections for residual waste, as even with little or no external storage this should not be necessary. It should be noted that up to 80% of the contents of a black bag can be recycled and we collect this 80% at the same frequency as we always did (weekly). The storage required for the remaining 20% is for one more week. In most instances, with improved education and awareness this should not be an insurmountable problem.

21.        Officers have had success in Penarth and Barry in addressing the problems experienced by individual multiple occupancy dwellings, and have been able to introduce a range of bespoke measures aimed at ensuring that all residents benefit from the full range of our waste and recycling services. Such measures include communal food waste bins and improved storage areas and can include more frequent collections for food waste and recycling.

22.        Officers are aware of the majority of multiple occupancy dwellings where problems are being experienced and an audit is now being undertaken of all the problems and a range of suggested solutions will be established. Some of these solutions may require an element of funding and for this reason officers will work closely with private landlords, and their public housing colleagues.

23.        The details of the audit will be provided to this Committee in the form of a matrix later in the year. The matrix will detail those multiple occupancy areas where success has been achieved in addition to the work required to attain success in the remainder. Residents will be fully involved in this audit process.

24.        Welsh Government (WG) has recognised that social and demographic conditions, including communities with communal waste collection arrangements, can have a direct relationship to poor recycling performance. They are presently trialling a bespoke recycling service to specific areas in Merthyr Tydfil with additional grant support to improve recycling performance in these communities. Officers will closely monitor the outcomes of this project and will seek WG views on whether similar support could be provided to assist lower recycling performing areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, where such performance can be related to poor storage and access issues.

Housing and Planning Issues

25.        The Council's waste management section is a consultee in the planning process for new developments. Officers also provide waste management advice to developers free of charge when necessary.

26.        The majority of the waste problems currently being experienced with multiple occupancy dwellings are linked to older properties, designed and built prior to existing recycling arrangements, including collection frequencies and the receptacles to be used. As previously advised one of the tools available to officers is to increase collection frequencies where there are storage issues for recyclable materials. Experience has shown however that it is usually the black bag capacity that is a problem. There can be an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to residual waste for these properties as when the waste has been deposited within the storage area, previous ownership of that waste is difficult to determine. This in some cases can be as much about increased education as it is about increased storage capacity.

27.        New properties should have space for the number of containers needed and provide at least the minimum total capacity per dwelling (residual 140 litres, recycling 240 litres and Kitchen / food 50 litres) with a smooth solid floor and drainage and a clear smooth pathway from the disposal point to the nearest highway or car parking area. Where the store is higher than the highway a dropped kerb must be in place and yellow hatching to prevent parking, where this could obstruct manoeuvring the bins and safe vehicle access.  It is also recommended that bin stores have adequate lighting when enclosed and space both inside and outside for clear signage.

28.        It is accepted that if improvements in recycling for new build and existing multiple occupancy dwelling are to be achieved it is essential that liaison between owners, developers, planning, housing and visible services  takes place early in the design process, to agree the methods of managing waste arising from the development. The following are particularly critical:

                   The method of store, segregation and collection of waste to be used;

                   The storage capacity to be provided, taking into account collection frequency and the type of waste (recycling, composting or residual) receptacle to be used;

                   Collection vehicle accessibility;

                   Residents should not be required to carry excessive distances (>30m) to the storage point.

29.        Waste management officers will continue to work closely with colleagues to improve new build arrangements and to modify existing buildings / arrangements where necessary. Members will be aware that any proposals for new development are determined taking into account of a range of material factors, of which waste management arrangements constitute one area of consideration.  In the event of planning permission being refused, there is a right of appeal to the applicant.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

30.        While provision for raising awareness and communicating with residents of multiple occupancy dwellings is included within existing revenue budgets, there is little revenue or capital monies currently available to relocate or to provide new bigger bin storage areas for existing properties. If this is ultimately identified as being required, as part of the audit process, the necessary financial provisions will need to be made.

31.        Any incentive scheme introduced to promote recycling will hopefully be at least cost neutral, however this will not be known until the specific scheme is decided.

32.        Consultation on 'new builds' is included within existing revenue budgets for Waste Management and Cleansing.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

33.        The Waste (Wales) Measure 2010 sets statutory recycling targets in line with 'Towards Zero Waste', the overarching waste strategy document for Wales, and Part 1 of the Municipal Sector Plan. Part 1 of the Municipal Sector Plan published by WG on the 10th February 2010, whilst contributing towards the suite of documents that comprise the Wales Waste Strategy, is not in itself a statutory document. Whilst under the Waste (Wales) Measure the Council does have a duty to meet the recycling targets and could be fined should they fail to achieve a WG recycling target, there is currently no statutory requirement to provide any specific method of collection.

34.        The Recycling, Preparation for Re-use and Composting Targets (Monitoring and Penalties) (Wales) Regulations 2011 allow WG to impose fines on Local authorities who fail to meet their statutory targets as defined in the Waste (Wales) Measure 2010.

35.        The Council has a duty to arrange for the collection of household waste from properties (unless the properties are so isolated or inaccessible and that the cost of collecting it would be unreasonably high) under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The council may, by notice require the occupier to place the waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number under section 46 of the 1990 Act.

Crime and Disorder Implications

36.        The failure to provide suitable domestic waste and recycling collection and storage arrangements can lead to incidence of fly-tipping. This has already been noted around certain multiple occupancy dwellings in the Barry area.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

37.        There are no major equal opportunity implications as a result of this report as the service is available to all householders and doorstep collection arrangements (assisted collections) are available to any householder with difficulties in accessing the current kerbside service.

38.        A full Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) was not required for this service change (co-mingling and fortnightly residual waste collections). An equalities review has been undertaken and this information is published on the Council’s website.

Corporate/Service Objectives

39.        It is a Corporate Priority to:

To work with partners to develop a sustainable community which maximises opportunities for economic growth social improvement and environmental regeneration and protection.

Policy Framework and Budget

40.        This report is within the Policy Framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

41.        None.

Background Papers

British Standards, 2005. BS 5906:2005; Waste Management in Buildings - A Code of Practice.

ODPM, 2002. The Building Regulations 2002 -Drainage and Waste Disposal. http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_ADH_2002.pdf

 

Contact Officer

Clifford Parish, Operational Manager Waste Management and Cleansing Tel No:  029 20673220

 

Officers Consulted

Accountant, Building and Visible Services

Operational Manager Legal Services

Head of Public Protection

Head of Planning and Transportation

Head of Public Sector Housing

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick, Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

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