Venue: The Forum, Towcester, NN12 6AD
Contact: Tracy Tiff, Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
To confirm the minutes of the Meeting held on 1 November 2021.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 November 2021 were agreed and signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
To receive communications from the Chairman.
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that Councillor Stone had requested the Place Overview & Scrutiny committee to consider adding the Northampton Station car park to the work programme and this would be added to the agenda for the meeting in January for consideration by the Committee.
Called in by Councillors:
In accordance with 10.5.5 of the Constitution
Item 8: Harmonisation of the Garden Waste Collection Service Across West Northamptonshire
a) Agreed that a charge was made for kerbside garden waste collection for all residents of West Northamptonshire who opt into this service of £42 per bin per year, from 1 April 2022;
b) Approved the decision to run the customer service and administration of the garden waste collection service in-house for all residents of West Northamptonshire, thus removing its administration from West Northamptonshire Norse, in the Daventry area.
c) Approved the establishment of a subsidised home composting scheme, to be launched at the same time as the charge 2022/23, to offer residents an alternative.
b) The Reason:
a) The introduction of a charge for the collection of garden waste would bring the south of West Northamptonshire into harmony with the rest of the council area. The scheme would be run council-wide with the level of charge, terms and conditions and service standards the same across west Northamptonshire.
b) Charging for the collection of garden waste would ensure that only those who wish to use the service pay for it and in that way, supports the Polluter Pays Principle. Therefore, those who home compost, or who don’t have gardens or who take their garden waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre would not pay for the collection service.
c) The Council would be permitted to levy a ‘reasonable’ charge for the garden waste service (under the Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012). The proposed charge would generate income essential to part fund the waste collection services provided to the residents of West
Northamptonshire. This includes approximately £800,000 in additional net income to the council in 2022/23 for the south area, where the charge would be newly introduced. It would also maintain the approximate £2.2 million of annual income from the areas of the council where there was an existing charge.
d) The £42 charge recommended for 2022/23 would be the same as was charged in the Daventry and Northampton areas in 2021/22 and so would represent no increase for those residents and is identified as average across the region.
e) The proposal to bring the customer service and administration of the garden waste collection service would enable the Council to have a direct interface with residents who wish to opt-in to this service, ensuring they receive the best possible customer service.
f) The subsidised home composting scheme would provide an alternative option for residents who do not want to pay the collection fee. It also promotes home composting, which in waste management terms is a preferred option.
c) The alternative course of action or recommendations proposed:
Alternative actions to improve the decision, as a minimum to incorporate all or any of the list below:-
· To allow for a lower cost that the £42 ... view the full agenda text for item 29.
The Chair introduced the Call-In request and explained that upon the advice of the Monitoring Officer, the Call-In request had been through the appropriate channels and it was confirmed that procedure had been followed. The Chair explained the procedure for the call in, as the Call-In Originator, Councillor McCord would be invited to expand upon their reasons for concern, followed by speakers - Councillor Beardsworth, Councillor Harris, Councillor Stone and finally Councillor E Roberts. After the speakers had finished their address to the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the committee would pose any questions to the Call-In Originator and speakers.
At the Chair’s invitation Councillor McCord, Call-In Originator addressed Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee and expanded on their reasons for the Call-In. The Call-In Originator felt that the green waste charge was a controversial issue and believed that this charge was already covered in council tax, and a new charge could only be justified if a new service was being provided to residents. Councillor McCord explained that he understood the need to introduce a charge in South Northants to harmonise the collection of garden waste across West Northamptonshire, but felt the cost was too high as South Northants residents would begin paying for garden waste collection and he felt that as more individuals signed up to the service, the overall cost of the charge should be reduced for residents across West Northamptonshire. The projected revenue of £800,000, which he felt would be closer to £1m, from South Northants residents signing up for their garden waste to be collected, should incite the Council to offer the lower payment option of £30 to encourage more residents to sign up to the service. Councillor McCord raised that Cabinet also needed to consider instalment payment plans and affordability options for residents and consider reinvesting the revenue raised into opening household waste recycling centres 7 days a week. He concluded his address to the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee and pleaded that the committee should refer the decision back to Cabinet to improve the decision.
Councillor Beardsworth addressed the committee and summarised that the harmonisation of the garden waste collection service across West Northamptonshire needed to be implemented in a sympathetic way in order to encourage recycling. She praised Brixworth recycling centre as a great example and shared how she felt that charging residents for recycling was counterproductive and lowering the cost of the charge would enable more residents to sign up to the service. Councillor Beardsworth explained that education and promotion of recycling was important and there was a need for a payment scheme to support residents on low income.
Councillor Stone addressed the committee and expressed her concern that there was no evidence in this decision that residents would not be getting value for money. She felt that the current proposal did not help those in financial difficulty and a waiver should be introduced to help those who maintained their gardens and we should be incentivising those who recycled their garden waste and ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.
There were no items of urgent business.