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Bonkers Blog July 2018

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5 July (Part 2) - Mainly rubbish

Deputy Director Bryce-Smith’s presentation to the Places Scrutiny Committee dealt with recycling and waste, street cleaning and car parks which looks to be a small brief compared to what Ms. Ainge put in her slide show but his responsibilities have an impact on just about everyone. His commentary expanded considerably on his the ten slides.

The opening bombshell was “I will mainly talk about things we will focus on in the next year. In terms of our current collection arrangements with Serco we have weekly recycling collections at the moment and we want to review that and see if there is an alternative option. It could involve for example two-weekly collections, weekly for food, using wheelie bins rather than boxes”.

“Serco¹s day to day performance has deteriorated, they have struggled with drivers and some loaders and they have been issued with significant defaults. The Serco contract expires in April 2020 so we are looking at commissioning options.”

The recycling centre contract has been let to CountryStyle and they are already looking to increase their recycling rate to 70%. They are opening up people’s waste sacks to see what can be recycled. The rate is currently 63% and staff are incentivised to raise it further.

Within the next year all the contracts relating to recycled materials will be renegotiated.

There is EU funding for improving diets and flowing from that a reduction in food waste. Cory Environmental is being encouraged to provide an anaerobic digestion plant within the borough.

There are plans to increase the number of Community Litter Pickers and all residents are being encouraged to pick up one piece of litter each week.

Bexley is “taking a tough line on enforcement. We recently seized two vehicles for fly tipping and one of those has been cubed and the next one will be cubed shortly. 450 prosecutions for littering and that is making a real difference.” (Less litter and at the same time more people hating Bexley Council is a win-win situation!)

“Moving to highways we have a budget of £4·3 million to maintain 311 miles of roads and the Conway contract is coming up for renewal in 2020 so the options are being considered.”

Road maintenance will move to “a risk based assessment and we will look to piloting new technology fitted to vehicles to find defects in the road”. (For when a man with a clip board is not a sufficiently expensive solution?)

“There are nine years left on the parking contract but in the coming year we will review CEO deployment levels. We will also look for new income opportunities such as car wash facilities in car parks and Amazon Lockers.” The Council has made contact with a car wash provider and a potential income of £50,000 has been identified.

Councillor Lucia-Hennis (Conservative, Crayford) was concerned about soapy water going down car park drains and into rivers. She was told that was something that will be considered.

Councillor Val Clark (Conservative, Falconwood & Welling) asked for the litter pickers to be issued with hi-viz jackets and said that most of her litter picking was done just after the dustmen have been.

Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, Slade Green & Northend) raised the issue of fly tipping and said “it was a major headache and some of the businesses on the industrial estates are getting really fed up with it. They would like to get more involved” but if things don’t improve “some may move out of the borough”.

David Bryce-Smith said “there have been major operations down there” and the frequently intemperate Cabinet Member Peter Craske who once called Councillor Borella the fly tipper’s friend said that the worst of the fly tippers had taken to destroying the CCTV cameras before pursuing their dirty deeds.


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