Last week, Basildon Borough Council launched an online survey on changes to its waste and recycling services and will remain open until midnight on Sunday 27th November 2016. Many of you will shortly be receiving a letter from the Council, if you haven’t already, encouraging you to have your say. This is not just an exercise. The Council are genuinely interested to hear the views of residents. I do hope that all residents of Billericay East who are able will take this opportunity to share their experiences ad express their opinion on the changes the Council are considering.
Some of the changes being considered by the Council include moving to fortnightly collections for black sack waste, introduction of wheelie bins, food waste caddies, changes to recycling collections, and perhaps most controversially, charging for garden waste collection.
Basildon Council, like all local authorities, faces immense funding challenges and is under tremendous pressure to save money, create efficiencies, and open up new revenue streams. As a Council, we also remain committed to increasing recycling across the Borough. Basildon already has an excellent record on this – the average household currently recycles around half its household waste. We’re one of the top five councils in Essex for recycling. We also, however, produce around a tonne of waste per household every year, which is the highest in the County, so we do need to do more.
Many of the arrangements that Basildon Council are considering have largely become the norm for other local authorities but, as local Conservatives, we have always been extremely proud that we protected weekly bin collections when other councils had moved to fortnightly – heck, we’ve boasted about it on our election leaflets for years. But we have also boasted about keeping the Council Tax as low as possible and the financial realities of local government are that it is unlikely that we are going to be able to continue to do both indefinitely. Looking at our waste and recycling arrangements is, therefore, both timely and prudent.
I want to stress though that we are consulting because no decision have yet been taken and your responses to this survey will help inform our discussions. To take part, please go to http://www.basildon.gov.uk/wastechanges.