Council defends ‘excellent’ bin collection service in Windsor and Maidenhead

The amount a council has spent on changing its bin collections has come under fire once again.

The Royal Borough has spent £500k swapping to a fortnightly service to help meet recycling targets.

The move, which now means black bins are emptied every two weeks, was also said to be saving £175,000 a year.

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But it has now been said that the changes will actually cost the council £895,000.

The contract with SERCO, which pick up waste on behalf of the local authority, will cost £500,000 and the need for six additional waste vehicles costing £395,000.

At the full council meeting on Tuesday, February 22, councillors convened to debate and vote on the 2022/23 budget, which sees a council tax hike of nearly three per cent.

Opposition members cited other uses the £500,000 spent on the contract could have been invested.

Liberal Democrats leader Simon Werner said: “You [the Tories] agreed to spend half a million pounds a year more on the waste contract so that it can offer less of a service. Bizarre. Almost incompetent.”

He added the council could have used the money to become “the beating heart of the community” once again.

Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem: Clewer East) said money from that pot could have funded the breastfeeding network to help mothers and babies after grant money was pulled, some universal services for families and young children, family support workers, or invest in upgrading and enhancing lighting in areas across the borough where people feel unsafe.

“Lots of choices,” she said.

The lead member for environmental services, Cllr David Coppinger (Con: Bray) said since the fortnightly switch, black bin waste decreased by 21.49 pe cent, food waste increased by 30.6 per cent, and recycling rates spiked to 54.1 per cent from October 2021 to January 2022.

“We are achieving what we set out to do,” Cllr Coppinger said.

However, he “accepted” there have been issues with the waste and recycling issues in the past. Cllr Coppinger added: “But I know we have an excellent service.”

He also said by adding more waste vehicles and reducing the routes, the council can “maximise” recycling capacity and “minimise” its carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con: Boyn Hill), lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health, and mental health, said they are working with the police and crime commissioner to look at unsafe areas and what more can be done.

He also said £1.7m of the council’s public health money is going to health visiting, which does include breastfeeding services.

The 2022/23 budget was approved after the ruling Tories and two Independent councillors voted in favour.

GetReading – Windsor