Four-weekly collections in Conwy hit stumbling block as council committee says no
Plans to roll out four-weekly refuse collections across the Welsh local authority of Conwy have taken a hit this week as councillors voted against the proposals.
On Monday (20 November), councillors on Conwy County Borough Council’s Economy and Place Scrutiny Committee voted against the introduction of four-weekly refuse collections in favour of keeping the three-weekly collections brought in last year despite a report by Conwy’s Improved Recycling Task & Finish Group recommending the idea of a full-county rollout.
The decision will come as a major disappointment to the proponents of the move after providing evidence that, following a year-long trial of four-weekly collections involving 10,900 households in the county, recycling increased by 14 per cent in trial areas, compared to the five per cent increase registered in three-weekly areas, while 31 per cent less refuse was thrown out in trial areas compared to the 20 per cent reduction in three-weekly areas.
In both areas, the reduced frequency of residual waste collections was complemented by weekly food waste, recycling and nappy collections and fortnightly collections of garden waste, electricals and textiles. By restricting residual waste capacity, councils hope to push more recyclables that still end up in the bin into recycling streams.
The report also found that the proportion of residents expressing negative attitudes towards four-weekly collections fell from 41 per cent before the trial to 26 per cent following the trial, while it was estimated that a saving of £390,000 a year could be made by the council by operating a four-weekly service instead of a three-weekly one.
However, some members of the committee remained unconvinced, raising concerns that fewer collections would lead to more fly-tipping and pests, despite the report affirming that there was no evidence of increased fly-tipping or pests in trial areas.
Speaking to the BBC, Labour councillor Ronnie Hughes expressed his opposition to the move, saying: "We haven't got things sorted with three-weekly collections, never mind four-weekly. There have been ten cases of fly-tipping in my part of Llandudno alone in the last year and I'm worried that things will get worse if we collect everybody's black bins every four weeks."
However, support remains for the introduction of four-weekly collections, with Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Cossey also telling the BBC that: “The only way we’ll increase recycling is to make it harder for people to throw things away.”
Despite the ‘no’ vote to four-weekly collections, the final decision is due to be made by the council’s cabinet at the start of December, giving some hope to supporters of the move that the council may yet be won over.