Waste: Residents are being failed by the Labour council

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty
Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty

A miserable summer of overflowing bins and yet more missed collections have made it clear that residents are being failed. It is merely the latest chapter in the failing waste management system under Labour.

At the last council elections Labour promised that senior Labour councillors would “directly oversee work to improve the rubbish and recycling service.” Instead, it’s painfully obvious they’ve been asleep at the wheel. And it is our residents who have had to deal with their incompetence. We have had nearly 4,000 missed collections so far this year as Labour has been consumed by its own political infighting, distracted from keeping our city clean.

Everything from ‘overheating trucks’ to ‘bad weather’ has been blamed for poor service. Remarkably, amid these excuses, Labour councillors have failed to mention the impact of their frontline cuts, which were meant to be mitigated by income from new projects such as garden waste or commercial waste - projects which have failed to raise adequate revenue. It can hardly come as a surprise that staff have spoken out to say they feel pulled from ‘pillar to post.’

While the service needs investment, it needs competent oversight from the political leadership of our council too. The Labour leadership has recently claimed more money would be put back in to the service but has remained unclear about how much or when. With no defined timetable and mealy mouthed words about “improvements in the future” there is no sign that the problems with waste and recycling will be resolved any time soon. Things don’t have to be this way, and residents know it. Other councils collect far more recycling, including more plastics and food waste. Locally our share of the commercial waste market remains at a low of around four per cent - whereas other councils can take on up to 40-60 per cent, a significant income boost.

We have all grown tired of waiting for litter to be cleared, bins to be emptied and recycling to be collected. Labour promised to take charge of this – and failed.

Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty is the Convener of the Green Group on Brighton and Hove City Council