* A briefing at lunchtime for councillors whose wards are affected by Phase 1 of the new bin collection and recycling arrangements and an opportunity for us to raise questions and seek assurances for constituents. Any resident with a concern or a query is welcome to either call me direct on 459378 or the Environment Department on 436289.
* An afternoon meeting of the Time2Give timebank committee for the West End. Timebanking is a means of exchange used to organise people and organisations around a purpose, where time is the principal currency. For every hour participants ‘deposit’ in a timebank, perhaps by giving practical help and support to others, they are able to ‘withdraw’ equivalent support in time when they themselves are in need. In each case the participant decides what they can offer.
Over a long period, I have highlighted to the City Council residents’ complaints about wheelie bins sitting permanently on the pavement, which not only causes difficulty for pedestrians particularly those using wheelchairs, motorised scooters or with prams, but has potentially serious safety issues as we saw in 2010 in Peddie Street.
As I indicated last night, getting the wheelie bins off the pavement will be welcomed, although the need for eurobins west of Ashbank Road on the north side of Blackness Road should be reconsidered, as there is no wheelie bins on pavement issue there.
“I can confirm that we are currently in the process of preparing a report for committee setting out the proposed future strategy for waste collection and recycling in order to comply with new government legislation. I had hoped to have this report to committee in February however we are still in the process of finalising this report and it is now likely to be March before this comes to committee.
There was an excellent presentation from Jeff Halkett from the City Council’s Waste Management Department which concentrated on waste collection arrangements in the West End.
There was also a useful discussion on a number of local issues and the embryonic Community Spirit Action Group website was unveiled. It is hoped that full information about the group and its activities will be uploaded to the new website between now and the May meeting.
Back in June, I advised residents of the latest information on the recycling of plastics. I have now received a further update from the City Council as follows :
The review period for the acceptance of an expanded array of plastics is now up, and we will be moving forward with these on an ongoing basis.
A flyer specifying the new plastic types that we are able to now accept was hand delivered out to all green box residents over the summer. The details on all the plastic recycling bins at points and centres are waiting to be changed, as the new artwork had to be ordered to reflect this change. Residents are though welcome in the meantime to use all plastic recycling bins for the expanded array of plastics as follows:
– Plastic bottles and lids e.g. milk, fizzy juice, water, household cleaning products and shampoo bottles
– Yoghurt pots
– Food tubs
– Butter and margarine tubs
– Microwavable food trays
– Fruit punnets
– Meat trays
– Vegetable and salad trays
– Black plastic bags
– Food bags, wrapper and film
– PVC pipes and tubing
The green box flyer also stated that we can accept supermarket shopping bags. Since the review period of introducing this change our plastics re-processor has requested as few of these as possible. The best solution for recycling supermarket shopping bags will always be taking them back to their source, or reusing them.
It absolutely highlights the need to get rid of the bins that sit permanently on the pavement – this blaze could have had very serious consequences.
The Head of Waste Management at Dundee City Council has replied to me in the following terms :
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it highlights the dangers of wheelie bins being left out on the street – a problem discussed at a meeting I attended earlier this year with the City Council’s Waste Management Department and the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Department.
As I indicated to the Courier thereafter, I felt the meeting was constructive, although I have sought clarification of a number of savings that are being proposed.
My greatest area of concern about the 2010/11 budget is the reduction in Fairer Scotland Fund budgets, resulting in the removal of funding from a number of excellent projects in the city. I was very concerned to learn today that one project whose funding has been removed (Dundee Employment and Aftercare Project) has been refused permission to put its case to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next Monday. I have written to the City Council’s Chief Executive making clear my disquiet at this decision and calling for a rethink. If DEAP is not given leave to speak to councillors at committee next Monday, I intend to move suspension of council Standing Orders to allow DEAP to speak.
On another matter, I had a positive meeting this morning with senior Waste Management officers and the SNP Convener of Housing, Dundee Contract Services and Environmental Services about bulky uplifts policy and charging. It is around 10 years since the council’s bulky uplifts working group reported, and I had suggested that a review of policy should now be undertaken. We met today to discuss this and had a useful exchange of views about the issues, including looking at other authorities’ good practice through benchmarking (for example, some councils have concessionary pricing or free uplifts for some residents, such as those on low incomes, the elderly, etc) and improving the recycling effort.
* This morning, along with councillor colleagues, I had a very useful meeting with the Waste Management Department and the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Department about the problems of refuse presentation at various locations. This gave the opportunity to raise issues in specific streets in the West End where residents have complained about poor refuse presentation or wheelie bins being left out on the street permanently. The officers present gave very useful updates on their various initiatives to help tackle this problem, that is a source of many complaints from constituents.
* Further to Tavish Scott’s visit to Dundee yesterday, you can read the article about this in today’sPress and Journal by going to http://tinyurl.com/tavishpandj.
* I recently asked for additional grit bins for the north end of Thomson Street and the top end of Tait’s Lane. I am pleased to advise that the City Engineer updated me this morning as follows :
Benvie Road – 26
Rosebery Street – 21 – 29 (odd)
“At the Community Safety Partnership Operational group meeting on Tuesday I suggested we set up a short term group to look at the issues to determine if there are any further steps we can take to help combat this issue, and this will be taken forward over the coming weeks.
I welcome this – it will add to the good work in terms of graffiti removal by the Council’s Anti-Graffiti Squad. However, it is vital that all agencies including the Procurator Fiscal’s Service, Children’s Panel and the Courts take the issue very seriously. Following my raising the graffiti issue in the West End with the local Community Planning Partnership for the West End, a local working party to tackle graffiti in the West End, including local resident participation, has been established.
It is in my view – and the view of other councillors – that graffiti is a total menace and it must be proactively tackled and stamped out. I am pleased that agencies are prepared to work together to proactively tackle this vandalism.
I was on Radio Tay News yesterday regarding the bins collections issue in the city …