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:
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 ServiceThe 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 AI 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 forwardAs 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.