Labour block investigation into waste collection and street cleaning

2018_Merton_litter_pick.jpgLabour council bosses have blocked investigation into why the street cleaning and bin collection contract is failing.

Lib Dem councillors had proposed a new task group that would focus on: improving Veolia’s performance, training Council employees for the task, and the costs and legal process to maintain weekly bin collections. 

Cllr Anthony Fairclough, Leader of Merton’s Lib Dem councillors said:

“You just have to look down any road in the borough to see missed rubbish and recycling collections, ignored flytips, litter and mess. This seems likely to get worse with the switch to wheelie bins and collecting rubbish fortnightly.

“It’s extraordinary that Labour councillors blocked a new way of looking at these problems in detail and making some recommendations”.

Cllr Fairclough added: 

“It’s also a bit odd that Conservative councillors wouldn’t back our suggestion of looking at ways to restore weekly bin collections and the costs of that. We also wanted a close look at the training and effectiveness of council staff in managing Council contracts, and the problems caused for residents by the roll-out of wheelie bins. Labour blocked these suggestions and the Conservatives refused to support them”.

Weekly performance monitoring: Veolia

Following a formal request from Cllr Anthony Fairclough in August 2018, Merton Council allowed the publication of the "Veolia performance dashboards" from 3 September, a set of weekly statistics that show the performance of Merton's waste collection and street cleaning contractor.

We have been asked to make the following information clear:

"This weekly information is a snapshot of customer reports and inspections and may differ from Monthly performance reports and contractual Service Performance Indicators which are reported on elsewhere. The purpose of this report is to provide a more frequent ‘barometer’ of performance and perceptions."

Weekly performance statistics

We need transparency on "rubbish figures"

Liberal Democrats in Merton have condemned secrecy over waste contractor’s performance.

Deputy leader of Merton Lib Dem councillors, Cllr Carl Quilliam has hit out at the decision not to publish figures on the weekly performance of the Council’s waste contractor, Veolia, on collecting refuse and cleaning our streets.

Cllr Quilliam said:

“We can all see what a poor job Veolia are doing in keeping our streets clean and collecting rubbish and recycling. The Council’s own figures show exactly how bad their performance is.  

“But for some reason councillors aren’t allowed to share these figures with residents. Perhaps Labour are worried it makes them look like they’re failing to hold Veolia to account?

“We have written to Labour Council bosses and the Council’s Chief Executive asking them to make the figures public – and importantly to reveal how much money they’ve managed to claw back from Veolia because of poor performance. If that doesn’t happen soon, we will take this to the next full Council meeting”.

New bin collection days

Merton Council's contractor Veolia began delivering new wheelie bins to residents from 30th July.

Residents should not use the new bins until the new collection service begins on 1st October.

The new bin collection days from 1st October are shown on the right. 

Residents who do not have room to store the wheelie bins should contact Merton council to discuss alternative arrangements (also on 020 8274 4902). You can read more about the changes here.

You can read more about our thoughts on the plan to explain the move and distribute wheelie bins here.



New wheelie bin scheme introduced 1 Oct

Councillors have had a first look at plans to explain the move to wheelie bins to residents.

By 1st October, every household will have 2 wheelie bins (one for rubbish, one for paper) plus a box for other recycling, and a food waste caddy. And either a wheelie or bag for garden waste if you pay to be in the scheme. Batteries and textiles will also be collected.

At the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Panel on 21 June, it was confirmed by contractor Veolia that the wheelie bins will be taken one week with recycling boxes the next. Food waste will be collected weekly as will batteries and textiles.

Around 75% of households will also see a change in collection day.

Read more

Action on weekly waste collection

AF__JTC__Oxford_Ave_2018.jpgWhilst Merton’s litter problem is getting worse, residents are concerned about plans to bring in fortnightly waste collection.

The local Lib Dem team have been calling for the Council to commit to maintaining a weekly collection for hygiene waste such as nappies. At the last council meeting, local parent John Tippett Cooper asked them to look into such a scheme, but Labour Council bosses refused. They insisted that there were no issues with things like nappies being collected fortnightly.

After the meeting, John said “The Council’s response on this issue shows how out of touch they are. They need to start listening to residents instead of pushing forward with their plans without proper consultation.”

#MuckyMerton's shock flytipping figures

Everyone knows that Merton Council is failing to keep the streets clean.

Since April, a new company - Veolia - has been responsible for cleaning our streets and collecting our rubbish.

Recent figures obtained by the local Lib Dems have revealed a shocking complacency. 4,792 instances of flytipping were reported to Labour Council bosses between January and September 2017, and yet only 18 fines were issued.

Agreed street cleaning standards are not being met and no one is holding Veolia to account.

Even worse, from late next year, Veolia will be in charge of collecting our recycling one week, and our normal waste the next, with each household forced to take two wheelie bins.

Local campaigner and lawyer John Tippett-Cooper said:

“We don’t like the contract with Veolia: Labour are clearly rubbish on rubbish. But we should use it to force Veolia to improve their service, reduce litter across the borough AND give people flexibility over their rubbish collections.”


Cutting local air pollution vital for children's health

New research confirms that a number schools in Merton are less than 150m away from roads with dangerously high levels of pollution.Campaigning on missing air monitors in 2009
Children’s health could be seriously affected, according to the research by ClientEarth – an environmental charity that successfully brought a legal action against the Government for breaking clean air laws.
Studies have shown that the health of children living within 150m of illegally polluted roads can be affected by traffic-related air pollution.
“The evidence shows that air pollution has links to various health conditions and shorter life expectancy,” said local parent and campaigner Anthony Fairclough.
“Cutting air pollution isn’t just an environmental issue: it’s vital for people’s health. Even more worrying is that this research only looked at schools – I have a toddler – there are numerous nurseries, playschools and playgrounds near these roads too.”

Read more

Parking charge hike for diesel vehicles - our view

Merton Liberal Democrats want fair parking chargesLabour-run Merton Council is proposing to increase parking charges in controlled parking zones for diesel vehicles. This will be £150 "surcharge" phased over 3 years. Instead of the normal £65 cost for a parking permit, the owner of a diesel vehicle will have to pay an additional £90 in 2017/18, £115 in 2018/19 and £150 in 2019/20.

Below is our response to the recent consultation.

Read more

Wheelie bins & fortnightly collections - latest

We had a massive response to our survey about the Council's plans for multiple wheelie bins and fortnightly rubbish collections.

Over summer, Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes and the team worked to take up residents' concerns with the councillor in charge of the plans.  

We want a waste collection scheme that works for people, is good value for money and that increases recycling.

You can see our questions and the answers we were given here:

  • Looks like they plan on giving you two wheelie bins, a recycling box and a food waste caddy, whether you have room to store them or not. They said: “standardisation will be required to a large extent”.
  • They don’t really know why this new scheme would increase recycling. They said: “we expect to see” an increase of 4% (but they don’t say why or how).
  • They plan on only collecting nappies and other sanitary waste fortnightly. They said: “there should be no health risk from a fortnightly service”.

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