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​​Black bags ‘were rubbish’

County Hall
County Hall

THE COUNCIL is to stop its supply of black bags to domestic households in a bid to save around £83,000 a year.

The council’s Cabinet met on Monday (Nov 30), to discuss stopping the supply and plans to increase fees for garden waste collection from £38 to £41.50 per year.

It was highlighted that Pembrokeshire County Council was one of few authorities in Wales to supply black bags and to stop it now would save money straight away.

Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services and the Welsh Language, Cllr Huw George said: “Garden Waste Collections started in 2011, it’s a subscription only service and to date we have approximately 5300 customers and they pay £38 for a 40 week period where there garden waste is collected every fortnight.

“The position I have for Cabinet is that we amend the charges as follows; to increase the garden waste collection to £41.50 per bin per annum from the current £38.

“If the total number of customers remains around the same level it would generate an additional £18,500. In addition to that if we could increase that number it might secure the price of £41.50 as we move forward through the years ahead.

“It’s £2 per collection which is very reasonable. For £2 a fortnight we can take away your garden waste which would secure the service moving forward.

“Every year we supply 52 black bags to domestic properties and this is not a statutory duty and we are one of few authorities who still do so. We have downed the size and made them thinner.

“It is proposed that we, if we cease supplying black bags to households from 2016 onwards, we would save £83,000.

“The reason we are bringing this forward today is that we are about to go out and pay for the black bags coming on so if we can save paying them it means that the money is with us now rather than looking ahead 12 months.

“There are concerns that people, if they don’t have a black bag, would stick things into the orange bag but I must say that the people of Pembrokeshire have been absolutely brilliant with recycling.

“When we brought in fortnightly collections, there were some people who were saying it was the end of the world but the people of Pembrokeshire responded remarkably.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “The costings are based on the net effect of the increase, not dissuading any customers from continuing with the provision of the service.

“We are one the last councils to supply black bags, recognising that we do need to encourage greater recycling, albeit the public has responded very well to that.”

Head of Environment & Civil Contingencies Richard Brown added: “We have increased the price in each of the last three years and each time we have seen an increase in numbers of people wanting to take the service up. This is because people realise how good it is. The service sells itself.

“We are not anticipating a drop, if we did that would be counter-productive but on previous performance we would expect this to be growing.

“In terms of the black bags, in Ceredigion they haven’t had black bags over the last 12 years so it is down to the residents there.

“A lot of people have been critical of the quality of the plastic bags which I would say are standard industry bags but I wouldn’t anticipate general disobedience from the public because we stopped supplying them with black bags.”

Cllr Jamie Adams said that this was part of a consultation process and added that members of the public had said that the council don’t need to supply black bags.

Cllr Alison Lee said: “I really don’t think this is going to be an issue and I think it would encourage more recycling and as Huw already said, the bags weren’t that good anyway.”

Cllr Huw George replied: “They were rubbish.”