Green bin olive branch as council expresses regret

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Although an unreserved public apology was not forthcoming, a mood of contrition was palpable last week when, as expected, a chastened council finally decided that kerbside garden waste collections should not be reinstated.

There was, however, unanimous cross-party support for a conciliatory motion by leader David Parker.

While reaffirming the decision in December last year and highlighting the “financial implications of reintroducing a service at this time”, it offered an olive branch to the 8,000 Borderers who signed a petition demanding reinstatement of green bin uplifts.

It stated: “This council recognises that consultation with the Borders public on the withdrawal of the green waste service could have been more carefully and effectively implemented, and we regret any inconvenience and disturbance this may have caused.

“This council acknowledges that further improvements can be made and asks the chief executive [Tracey Logan] to prepare a report…” continued the motion.

Ms Logan will have to identify “specific support to meet the recycling needs of smaller communities” and “explore opportunities to support and assist the elderly and vulnerable to access community recycling centres”.

Her report will look at further ways to facilitate the work of private waste contractors and outline actions to improve home composting.

Finally and significantly, Ms Logan must “develop a communication plan to ensure our proposed actions are clearly communicated to the Borders public”.

For the SNP, group leader Councillor Stuart Bell welcomed these measures, adding: “Although I regret how we got here…the reality is that the council cannot now afford to re-introduce this non-statutory service.”