Wednesday 11 October 2017

Councillor claims residents will flytip and report via Cleaner Brent App to avoid £35 bulk collection charge

Councillor John Duffy (Labour, Kilburn) has returned to the theme of alleged waste in Brent Council's waste policy. He has sent the email below to all councillors:

Dear Councillors,

It is obvious to anyone who understand data there is a direct correlation between the failure of the Cabinet to monitor the bulky waste service and ensure the contractor perform to contract specifications and the increase in fly-tipping.
It is unacceptable that the cabinet were aware of the both the rising fly-tipping figures and the rising delays in the bulky waste collection Times and chose to do nothing. It is clear  to me the longer the waiting time for the bulky waste service the more likely the waste is to be dumped on the Street. It is also clear residents are resourceful and using the Cleaner Brent  App to report their own dumped furniture/waste (therefore the rise in reported dumping) therefore getting the waste taken away for nothing in 24 Hrs rather than wait the 8 weeks for a collection.
The likelihood of thing improving once the £35 charge has been introduced is remote and clutching at straws, especially  as residents will soon realise they have already paid for the collection service once in their Council Tax.
It beggars belief that  the cabinet are offering our residents the choice of paying £35 for  bulky collection that will take  up to 5 days too collect or to take the items  outside and use the Brent Appto report the dumping and get it picked up in 24 hrs  for Free. I think many will chose the second option especially when they realise  they have already paid for the service in their council tax.
I believe the service will yield little income and will increase fly-tipping, I have asked the CEO on Monday to suspend the charge and asked for a full evaluation.The CEO has not got back to me, but I understand her and the leader will not suspend the £35 charge and stand by it.
I am having further conversations with residents groups to put together a package of improvements based on environmental needs. Which I will hopefully update you with on Monday.
One of the guiding philosophies in the environment is the polluter pays, however what the cabinet are suggesting is the polluter pays twice.
I still hope the cabinet will see reason and enter into dialogue to improve the environment and suspend the £35 charge, however based on my previous experience that will not happen. 

See below email
Dear CEO and All Councillors ,
I am very concerned about the £35 charge for Bulky Waste as I believe the decision is double charging residents for a service they already pay for and has no financially modelling and is environmentally damaging and is not also sustainable,
The reason I believe this is the case because the charge is being brought in to hide the failings by the cabinet to improve services. The service has gone from a 5 day pick-up in 2014 when I (most of us) was elected to an 8 week delay today. The delay is wholly at the doorstep of the cabinet for believing in the supposed Zero Tolerance policy with Kingdom Security , which squandered resources, while misunderstanding the issues around contract compliance and sustainability.
As well as the wasting of resources on the KS contract one of the only environmentally revenue (we lost over £100k) from the government, that was available to us. The contract had no controls on what services were needed by the council. This allowed the contractor to chose the most lucrative areas for themselves , while avoided the areas of most need like street dumping .This lack of controls and other decisions taken by the cabinet has seen the number of case of fly tipping go up by over 32% from10,000 reported cases  to 17,000 reported cases in the last year alone.
I am therefore amazed with Fly-tipping rising at constant rate over the last 3 years ,the cabinet have decided  the best way to reduce fly-tipping is to introduce a £35 charge for the bulky waste service.
The Service
The truth about the existing service is the Street Cleansing contract is clear . The contract makes the contractor ( Veolia) liable to pick up 17500 bulky waste collections PA 70 pick-ups X 5 Days X 50 Weeks. This year we picked up 17485 collections. Albeit the service clearly running at near capacity, it should not have lead to an eight weeks delay….. It would seem that the residents have already paid for this service via the council Tax for the street cleansing contract and the disposal contract, but the cabinet failure to ensure contract compliance and Fly-tipping as their priorities have let the service fail.
Financial Modelling.
Albeit the service has been paid for once. I believe there is a case for more investment in the environmental services. However I believe the £35 charge will be the highest charge by any licensed waste carrier in Brent and is not competitive and the charge will have a negative affect on the environment .Those who will not pay the £35 will do one of the following.
(i)        Some will taken Civic Amenity centre , some residents will still have a problem transporting larger item,settee,mattresses.
(ii)       Some will use licensed private collectors.
(iii)      Some will use the grey bin ( breaking-up smaller items)
(iv)      Some will use Street dumping
(v)       Some will  use Street Dumping and use the Brent Cleansing Apt to report it.  
(vI)     Some will use unlicensed (White Van Man) waste carriers , much of which will end -up dumped on the street.

Model A 
I understand officers have based their modelling on a take-up from 11000 to 17000 collections and income between 25k to £250 , this seemingly is only based on a £35 per collections price. Their model excludes the collection of bags of rubble and some other items and the figures are very broad.
Whereas it is always hard to a financial breakdown  on what is a new charge, but there are obvious facts ,the service will still operate a substantial discount for residents in receipt of benefits  which can be as high as 20% so allowing for a 15% against what is in the contract 17500- 15% = 14875  paid collection. we also know the higher the cost the bigger the lose of customers.
I believe that a nominal fee of £10 should have little affect on paying on the people who pay now but the £35 will deter many my analyses is based on work I did some years ago on increasing costs for commercial Waste.
£10 cost Customers  lose 10% of customers   =  14131 X   £10 = £141000  (90% of customers including discounted residents)  
£20 cost Customers  lose 45% of customers   =    8181 X   £20 = £164000  (70% of customers including discounted residents)  
£35 cost Customers  lose 75% of customers   =    4462  X  £35 = £156180  (45% of customers including discounted residents)  

You can see from this model the £20 would bring in the most. The £35 is unsustainable because its more expensive that other options, however the £10 is more fair as the residents have already paid for collections in the Veolia contract and already paid for the deposal in the West -Waste levy. I also have more confident in the take -up of the £10 cost as its affordability for most residents.
There also other issues, why are we using 5 items as the cut of point , it is more logical to me to cut it to £10 for 4 items this is based on the bulky collection usually being one or two items (bed and mattress or a fridge-freezer) we could then charge a progression cost for £5 per item after that , believe this would also bring in more income.
Officers and the Cabinet say they oppose a progressive charge because they wish to keep the costing simple. I completely disagree there is nothing simple about doubling the price once you have past a threshold. A progressive charge is both fairer and reflects the true cost.
The Way forward
As you know I am trying to get the support of a number of councillors (hopefully in late November) to call a full council meeting  to discuss sustainable Environment policies around enforcement , recycling and  street cleansing. I will get back to you on those proposal shortly.
In the meantime I am asking the CEO and the Leader of the Council to consider
(1)      Freezing the introduction of the scheme until a full evaluation of the increase in fly-tipping is assessed.

If however you are not willing to freeze the introduction of the charge please answer the questions below as an FOI if you like.
(2)      Explain the price modelling. 
(3)      Explain why,now that we are charging, why are certain wastes prohibited 
(4)      Did  officers explore progressive pricing. 
(5)      How much increased revenue do you expect to received from the the new charge of £35 
(6)      What impact do you think the Charge will have on Fly-tipping. 

I understand under this scheme Brent are going to takeaway old Christmas Trees.I buy my Tree at Ikea for £16 , I feel hearten to know the council will take it away for just…...£35.

I think the cabinet have missed the point.


Scott said...

This sort of expose from Cllr Duffy not only leaves my jaw hitting the floor, but is exasperating to the verge of anger. It was reported in the Brent & Kilburn times that Cllr Duffy was ostracised for trying to stop Labour wasting £2million. This money could literally have been used to save lives - Labour cut £1.1million from youth services, including closing Stoenbridge Adventure Playground that was renowned for its work on providing young people with options other than gangs. It is absolutely outrageous that the council are not utilising people who are part of their own political party who obviously have a very good grasp of numbers. The problem with the 'leader & cabinet' model of local government is that there are a small group of people who hold all the decision making power. When the large majority of the council are from the same political group, eager and vying for more power they just shut up in vain attempts to climb the greasy ladder - which is doing absolutely nowt for residents of Brent. All the respect to Cllr Duffy for keeping on at them.

Anonymous said...

With these lot in charge. Is it any wonder Brent is the unhappiest borough in London according to a new survey in the papers.

Anonymous said...

some of the Labour councillors arent just shutting up attempting to climb the greasy pole. they keep quiet because there scared of Butt and his power to get them deselected, theyve seen what happened to Duffy!

Trevor said...

A borough in which 13.7% of Brent residents are unemployed or are are employed but claim in work benefits
are highly unlikely to be able to afford to pay £35 to have bulk waste disposed of by the council.