Councillors Criticise Lack Of Communication Over Waste Charges

rubbish dump 3Councillors have complained about confusion and a lack of communication over the new commercial waste charges.

The Council introduced the pricing structure at Moorwell on Monday. All businesses dropping off waste will now need a permit, starting at £15 a month.

Waste will be weighed and charged by the tonne.

And to comply with mainland legislation, businesses will need to be registered as Licenced Waste Carriers with the Environment Agency.

But at Tuesday’s General Purposes Meeting, councillors who own food and drink businesses on the islands said they’d had little information about the new charges before they were introduced.

Cllr James Francis called for consultation with some of the bigger businesses.

In particular, the disposal of glass waste proved to be a problem.

The Council approved its waste charges in February, but asked members to amend these at the meeting.

The changes included raising glass disposal to £30 per tonne. They’d said previously that this would be free.

And there was confusion yesterday over when the revised charges can start. Some fees set in Council meetings have to be approved by the Policy and Resources Committee, which looks after finances.

But the Chair of General Purposes, Cllr Steve Sims, confirmed to us that his committee has the final say and the new pricing started on Wednesday morning.

That means businesses won’t be able to dump waste before the deadline.

Cllr Francis felt charges could result in the domestic recycling bins being “stacked up by sneaky business operators coming out in the middle of the night to get rid of all their glass waste.”

Cllr Steve Sims said fly tipping could be an issue, but added that Scilly is probably “the worst place in the world” to try that because “someone is bound to see you.”

But Cllr O’Neill criticised the way the changes had been communicated to the community.

He said some businesses are not aware of the new regulations and the first they’ll know about it “is by hearing it on the radio or reading it in the newspaper.”

Gaz said businesses aren’t trying to “secretly dump glass.” He said they’re simply trying to do the right thing and recycle, adding, “The bins at the back of the Town Hall is the place you do that.”

Gaz said he didn’t want the finger of blame being pointed at businesses that are “simply doing what they’ve been asked to do by this Council”

And he added, “I’m feeling a little bit pointed at.”

Cllr Francis also questioned how businesses were informed and asked for a period of grace to allow them to get themselves organised.

St Martin’s councillor Colin Daly said he hadn’t heard anything about it either and felt the Council needed to communicate more effectively.

But Nigel said the intention to charge was posted on the Council’s website several weeks ago and he felt any further delay would result “in a bun fight.”

James said putting it on the Council’s website wasn’t enough.

Senior Manager for Infrastructure Craig Dryden said there had been “a fair amount of publicity” and Cllr Sims added that a lot of letters had gone out.

It was difficult to get people to take notice, he said, “because it’s not a particularly gripping subject.”

And Steve says there’s no room for consultation. It’s the law, he said, “like you’re not allowed to kill people.”

Colin said the Council had been “lacking in its communications for some time.”

After a lengthy and heated debate, councillors eventually approved the new charges.



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