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Bonkers Blog October 2015

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16 October (Part 2) - Don’t kill the Golden Goose. Oh, they just did

Deputy Director David Bryce-Smlth and bin man Peter Craske were in self-congratulatory mood at the mid-week Scrutiny Committee meeting. They believed they had done a magnificent job with the brown bins and in a way they have.

StreetlifeThe target was for 40% of households (30,000) to pay the bin tax and depending on which council story teller you choose to believe, that is close to what has happened. The financial break even point was calculated to be around the 17,000 households mark.

So the take up rate was good but the scheme implementation was simply crazy. Not confident enough to order 30,000 bins in the summer they went for batches of 10,000 and aimed to issue them on a first come first served basis.

Delivery trucks criss-crossing the borough was never going to be an efficient system but coupled with a street by street, area by area collection of the old bins, chaos was inevitable.

Those like me who ordered early and whose old bin collection was late have got away relatively unscathed. Those who paid the bin tax later and were in an area with an early collection have been left with no service for up to six weeks so far.

There have been many false dawns including press reports that everyone who had ordered one would be provided with a new bin by 4th October. Now they are sending out this email.

Thank you for signing up to Bexley's new garden waste service.

Delivery of the new larger garden waste bins is now well underway on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. The first 20,000 customers will have their new bins by the end of this week (Friday 16 October). Once these deliveries are completed we will start to deliver the third list of 10,000 bins which includes your garden waste bin.

Because this is later than we originally planned, your membership will be extended so that your renewal date will be 7 December 2015. This will ensure you receive the 25 annual collections that you paid for.

When you receive your bin, you can start to put it out for collection in your 'recycling only' week (the opposite week to your residual waste green wheeled bin collection).

In the period until your new bin is delivered, please either take your garden waste to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Thames Road, Crayford or Foots Cray, Sidcup or store it until your new bin arrives.

The majority of the ‘old’ brown compost bins should now have been removed for recycling and all 75,000 of the containers used for the Council's new free food recycling collection delivered.

If either has not happened, please report this via our website at, where you will also find more information and updates about both services.

Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbours.

The reason for the high take up rate is not difficult to fathom. Bexley’s fee is just about the lowest of any borough with a service promised to be among the very best.

In Bromley the charge is £60 (Bexley currently £30) for an inferior service and the take up rate has been 14%. Not surprising, at that price I would stick an incinerator in the garden. At 30,000 households and probably more when spring comes along, the numbers are well above the break even level and there will be no excuse for a price rise, but maybe Bexley council will get greedy.

Like when they raised parking charges by 50% last April.

Gayton Road Gayton RoadIt’s a plan that seems to have misfired.

Noticing much increased street parking outside his home, a Welling reader took an interest in his nearest car park. It appeared to be half empty so he resorted to the Freedom of Information Act.

The unusually frank reply is very interesting. It shows that in the period after the price increase, all day parking fell to 60% of its former level.

The loss of revenue amounted to £28.69 a day which doesn’t sound much but over a year (220 days assumed) adds up to more than £6,300. And that is just one car park with only 155 spaces.

ClarkClose to home in Abbey Wood car parking capacity has been reduced to less than 50% of pre-Crossrail levels and the remaining car park in Gayton Road came under great pressure. Today at a few minutes after nine o’clock it was 25% empty.

As the man from Welling said, “great economics guys, causing residents even more cuts and debt”.

When he brought the situation to the attention of his ward councilor she professed to be unable to understand his point. “Not sure what you are referring to”. And you elected these cretins.


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