William Eichler 04 February 2020

Birmingham City Council considers ‘overhaul’ of rubbish collection service

Birmingham residents could see their bins collected every two to three weeks as part of a package of measures designed to overhaul the city’s waste management service.

The environmental consultants Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions UK Ltd have published their service review into the way rubbish is collected by the city council.

The review, which was commissioned as part of the agreement which ended the industrial dispute that affected bin collections in early 2019, found that the current management structure ‘does not provide sufficient operational oversight of the depots’.

It also said ‘poor communication’ was both the cause and the symptom of a lack of trust throughout the service. Wood warned that the use of older vehicles was likely to result in higher fuel consumption, greater emissions and increases in maintenance costs.

The review also found that there was minimal enforcement or engagement activity undertaken by the council where properties demonstrated poor compliance with the collection schemes.

The consultants recommended that the council ‘refresh’ their communications plan and hold a series of ‘review and reconciliation’ sessions to build up trust within the service.

They also advised that the council produce a rationalised waste collection policy document, and develop a fully integrated ICT which ensures consistency between the routing system and operational delivery system.

Wood also recommended that the second phase of the review considers the introduction of a separate weekly food waste collection which will be mandatory after 2023.

The council was also advised to look at fortnightly residual collections with fortnightly recycling collections, and three weekly residual collections and fortnightly recycling collections.

Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks, commented: ‘We are grateful for the work that has been independently carried out over the past few months.

‘It has offered a fresh perspective on things and confirms many of our beliefs about how the waste service can be improved and supports the improvements we have already started to put in place, such as the replacement of our ageing vehicle fleet.’

‘In terms of taking things forward on our improvement journey to achieve that aim, we do need to look at a range of possible options for the waste collection system itself,’ he continued.

‘The likely introduction of a weekly food waste collection by the Government means now is the right time to do this. Absolutely no decisions have been taken on the future of waste collection, but we do want to look at how we can help tackle the climate emergency by improving our recycling rate. All the options that will be explored include retaining a weekly waste collection.’

Photo: richardjohnson / Shutterstock.com

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