Agenda item

Q4 Environmental Services Quarterly Reports


TPugh presented the report, first noting that the household recycling rate for the quarter is 49%, giving a provisional outturn of 52% for the year. The average monthly rate for missed bins in Q4 was 85, giving a quarterly figure of 255. 105kg of residual waste was collected on average per household for the period, giving a provision outturn figure of 421kg per household. 95.38% of fly-tips were collected with the set timescale of 7 days, above the target of 95%, and 92.6% of graffiti was removed within 7 days, just under the target of 95%.


Cllr Birnie noted the reference to a new reporting exercise within section 1.4 of the report and asked for clarification of this. TPugh explained that this refers to a review and rationalisation of new KPIs undertaken last year.


Cllr Birnie commented that the KPI results don't appear to be consistent and that it would be useful to see actual kilograms against them where appropriate so they can be compared. The Chair asked if the councillor would also like to see the change in KPIs on quarter. Cllr Birnie stated that it would be beneficial to also see this.


Cllr Deacon queried if there are any targets for the first three measures within the report. TPugh confirmed that no targets were set as part of the KPI management system, and whilst there are some national targets, such as for recycling, none were set for the first three.


Cllr Gale commented on the national indicator NI 192 and N1 191 and asked for these to be explained further. TPugh advised that these are legacy from a compulsory KPI system and have persisted as valuable measures. The indicators allow councils to benchmark performance and it shows that what is being measured at Dacorum is the same as the national indicator.


Cllr Timmis congratulated the department on the number of fly-tipping prosecutions and the number addressed and asked why some fines are so small given that the removal of them can cost up to £1,000. EWalker advised that the fines issued by the court are subject to national guidance and the fly-tipping group are lobbying government to review this guidance, though central government have stated they will not be reviewing this at this time. Since this response, an anti-social behaviour ("ASB") action plan has been released by the government to look at encouraging councils to increase fixed penalty notices that can be used for fly-tipping with the aim to reduce fly-tipping and keep fly-tippers out of court. EWalker explained that for prosecutions they follow the 'polluter pay principle' where the polluter covers the cost of removal. The court may not always grant this request, often if the defendant has limited means, though the court will often decide that the polluter must pay to clear the fly-tip.


The Chair asked that the Committee's thanks be passed onto the department regarding the action taken against fly-tipping.


Cllr Mitchell commented on the lack of provision on the industrial estate. TPugh confirmed that the Council provides a discretionary commercial waste collection service and businesses can opt into this if they wish to pay for the service. The service can include recycling and the Council currently collects from several hundred companies, though it is a competitive market and other private organisations dominate this area. Cllr Mitchell commented that a family member who has recently taken up a business is unsure of who to contact and that there is only 1 recycling bin in his area of the industrial estate.


The Chair commented that, as a business owner in the area, her experience of the Council's collection service is far superior to a private contractor she used previously.


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe asked how business owners are being encouraged to use the Council's waste collection service. TPugh agreed that promotion and marketing is required. The Chair confirmed that she would be happy to provide a quote on the strength of the service.


Cllr Birnie asked if commercial clients are given the means to differentiate between the types of waste they produce. TPugh confirmed that separate collections of recycled waste are carried out.


Cllr Santamaria asked if the missed bin collection includes those who didn't put out their bin and queried what 'justified' means in regards to this. TPugh confirmed that it includes bins put out when they were supposed to and that the bin was missed.


Cllr Santamaria noted the reference to the work undertaken to enhance staff morale within waste collection and requested further information on this. TPugh advised that a physiotherapist trial has been introduced to help with musculoskeletal issues and they are also talking to staff about increasing training and development opportunities, such as training for waste loaders to become drivers.


Cllr Patterson queried what monitoring the Council does in regards to waste is actually recycled once it leaves the depots. TPugh explained that recycling is collected at the depot in a transfer location and is collected by a contractor to be taken to a recycling facility under a contract with the County Council. Accurate data is provided on how this material is handled.


Cllr Gale referred to the garden waste subscription service and that the total number of households signed up to the scheme is 63.3% of households who previously received a free collection and asked if this refers to those who were entitled to a free service or those who put it out. TPugh stated that it should read 63.3% of households entitled to the service, noting that around 55,000 households were offered a free collection.


Cllr Anderson commented on the waste collection transformation project and asked what the three largest risks to the project are. TPugh suggested that the main risk is that residents wouldn't receive information regarding changes to the collection day, which was mitigated through a focus on communication of proposals. Each household that will see a date change will receive two letters, one alerting them to the change and another to remind them closer to the date of the change. Bin hangers will also be put on bins around a week before the change. The number of households that will have a collection date is now less than anticipated at around 10,000. The second risk is that the financial savings anticipated won't be delivered, which is being mitigated by a remodelling exercise to ensure that known constraints are taken into account and assumptions are identified so they can be monitored carefully. The third potential risk is the change to staff terms and conditions, which has not arisen as further remodelling has been conducted in consultation with staff and the change to staff terms and conditions will no longer be proposed as a result.


In response to a comment from Cllr Anderson regarding change management, TPugh advised that there will be a less stringent missed bins policy and they will look to collect as many missed bins as possible and further communications will be sent out, if necessary. Any other issues will be responded to as required.


Cllr Deacon commented on the green waste figure of 31,652 and asked if a breakdown of how many of these are lower earners and if households ordering two collections is double-counted. TPugh confirmed that he would provide this information.


Cllr Mitchell reported that she had heard that fly-tipping has increased significantly month on month, suggesting it has increased by 100%, and asked if the green waste collections has contributed to this. TPugh explained that the site is first checked for any evidence that can be used for enforcement before it is collected by Clean Safe and Green. There is currently no evidence that garden waste is a significant part and tends to be general household waste and builders' waste.


EWalker queried where Cllr Mitchell had received the figure that fly-tipping has increased by 100%. Cllr Mitchell stated that an officer had mentioned this. EWalker stated that she would be surprised if it has increased by 100%, though it has been increasing incrementally over a number of years. Cllr Mitchell asked that the figure for the increase in fly-tipping be confirmed.


Cllr Mitchell asked if fly-tipping has increased due the refuse centre now requiring ID. EWalker suggested that it has been increasing since before this was brought in and that numerous factors are likely to encourage fly-tipping.


Cllr Mitchell commented on fly-tipping around bin areas behind shops in Gadebridge is significant, noting that communal bins for flats are now outside due to fire risks and that she doesn't believe it is the residents abusing this.


Cllr Pringle suggested that someone putting a bag of waste next to a full bin is counted as fly-tipping and stated that it would be useful to have a different categorisation for this as it is an attempt to properly dispose of the waste. Cllr Pringle stated that if bins are not managed then they become dumping grounds and she recommended that the area behind Berkhamsted Sports Centre be checked, noting that the police could also be alerted to this. Cllr Pringle advised that it would be useful to have fly-tipping categorised as what is organised, a failed attempt to dispose waste correctly and random dumping. EWalker confirmed that further information could be provided.


Cllr Pringle commented that organised crime would be approached differently to someone randomly dumping an item. EWalker agreed, noting that they follow the Crown Prosecution guide when looking at enforcement action.


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe noted that she had recently used the waste reclamation sites in both Berkhamsted and Dacorum and she was not asked for ID at either site.


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe commented on DBC being one of the last to charge to collect garden waste and that concern was expressed on whether this would increase green waste fly-tipping across the county. Cllr Wyatt-Lowe advised that there has been very little impact on green waste fly-tipping, as also experienced by other councils, and that green waste will naturally decompose.


Cllr Pringle stated that they should not be encouraging the public to dump garden waste. The Chair clarified that this was not Cllr Wyatt-Lowe's suggestion.

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