By Ross Logan , Reporter
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
RECYCLING rates in Welwyn Hatfield have soared since the introduction of alternate weekly rubbish collections.
But a number of persistent problems with the service still need to be ironed out, councillors have warned.
A report on the second and third quarter performance of ARRC (Alternate Refuse and Recycling Collections) shows that since its introduction in early 2011, Welwyn Hatfield has climbed from ninth out of 10 to second in the county’s recycling table.
That’s despite severe teething problems that have seen collections missed, bins not returned and rubbish left out in the street for weeks.
At last night’s (Monday) full meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council, Cllr Colin Couch, executive member for environment, hailed ARRC as a “tremendous success” in terms of reducing the borough’s landfill.
But Labour group leader Cllr Kieran Thorpe said: “It’s good to hear we’re increasing our recycling levels.
“But to our residents it’s not the amount of landfill saved or how much we recycle that matters. What matters to them is whether their bins are collected and returned.
“Figures and statistics don’t concern them. It’s for that reason we need to keep a close eye on when it goes wrong and make sure it is put right quickly.”
Referring to the upcoming Olympic and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which will see the Queen visit Hatfield, Cllr Thorpe added: “Let’s hope the streets are lined with well-wishers and not wheelie bins.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr Malcolm Cowan said the service’s response to missed collections must be quicker.
Referring to the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ story last week about rubbish bags not being collected for a month outside a block of flats in Roe Green Lane, Hatfield, Cllr Cowan said: “An ongoing problem is when bins are not collected, how slow the service appears to be to recover.
“Most reasonable people will accept that sometimes mistakes are made, but it’s the speed of recovery that concerns me.”
Cllr Couch put missed collections down to inconsiderate parking which blocked access to refuse trucks.
“We do try to get them collected as soon as possible,” he said.
“Anybody who has a problem can email me and I will try and resolve it.”
Addressing Cllr Thorpe, he added jokingly: “There definitely won’t be any wheelie bins on the Royal route, but if there are I’ll make sure golden crowns are painted on each one.”