As Labour's Environment Spokesperson on Dundee City Council today I have voiced my concerns about proposals to be brought froward by the SNP-led Dundee City Council to end weekly waste collections. I am unhappy that these proposals are not included in the council's budget proposals when this is clearly a money-saving exercise. I think that the people of Dundee should be consulted on this major move and I urge them to make their voices heard.
I cannot believe that the SNP Administration are trying to sneak this move through. This is a major change and the people of Dundee should have a say on this. I am concerned that such a major savings initiative is being left out of the council's budget setting process - what other major changes are being left out? We have seen that there is a general lack of transparency and openness and this further proves that point.
I want Dundee to be at the top of the recycling league, I want to cut waste, I am just not convinced that these proposals are the way to do that. Former Labour Councillor, the late Julie Sturrock, led the way with recycling in the city we need to be looking for innovative ways to promote recycling and make sure that Dundee remains at the forefront of recycling, I'm not convinced that these measures do that. In the tenemental areas of the city it is difficult to provide recycling facilities for each flat. I would rather that the council was looking for ways to do this, even ones that involved more cost, rather than trying to dress up savings as environmentally friendly. The overall question I would pose is whether a city is well-suited to fortnightly waste collections and in particular is Dundee well-suited?
I have concerns about the impact that fortnightly bin collections will have on the community. People will be concerned that rubbish will be left out for longer, that some rubbish will not be stored in bins. People will be concerned about rats and other vermin. I will be looking for the council to show that this has worked elsewhere. As far as I know it has been tried in some areas and has been found to be unpopular and unworkable. I will be looking to find out about the experience elsewhere. I will be speaking to the trade unions to find out their views, I will be seeking a guarantee that there will be no job losses as a result of this change of policy.
The council should publish its proposals sooner rather than later and we should have full scrutiny of them.
Most of all I would urge the people of Dundee to make their voices heard to tell the council what they think about fortnightly collections. If you think that fortnightly collections are just rubbish tell the council that.