Waste changes could mean cut to services

Councillor and local resident Stuart Bell  concerned that Clovenfords has not been issued with green bins for garden refuse.

Councillor and local resident Stuart Bell concerned that Clovenfords has not been issued with green bins for garden refuse.

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The introduction of new food waste collections could mean other kerbside recycling services have to be cut, councillors have been warned.

This was revealed at a meeting of the council last week, after Councillor Stuart Bell asked if communities who currently do not get a garden waste service, like Clovenfords, will receive them before other collections are introduced.

Mr Bell asked: “Before the council make such changes, when will my community get a waste collection service that is fair, and the equal of the service provided to neighbouring communities?”

In reply, Councillor David Paterson, executive member for environmental services, said: “The council is unable to expand the current garden waste collection service at this time. All routes are operating at maximum capacity.

“We do not have the budget to pay for additional vehicles, staff or the cost of treating the material collected.”

The council will need to provide food waste collections to around 24,000 Borders households by 2016 as part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Zero Waste Plan’.

Mr Paterson said: “The introduction of these new services will require to be funded. We will have to make difficult decisions about what services we can afford in the future. The aim of the council must be to provide a waste service that is fit for purpose and financially viable in the long term. This will require further reviews and rationalisation of services.

“We can not escape the population spread and rural nature of the Borders. This presents very real challenges in delivering an equitable waste service to all households.”

Speaking to The Southern, Mr Bell said: “I would certainly be concerned if the changes in provision meant even less service for Clovenfords.”

He added: “I regret the possibility that Clovenfords may get neither a garden waste nor a food waste collection.”

Currently 33,000 homes in the Borders are served by garden waste collection, introduced in 2005 and financed by the Scottish Executive.

Mr Bell has asked the council to consider putting a skip in Clovenfords for a month in spring and autumn to save villagers travelling to the recycling centre at Langshaw to dispose of their garden waste.