Answers to Questions: Rubbish and Recycling

At the most recent full Council meeting of Bury Council, your Liberal Democrat team of councillors asked a number of questions regarding rubbish and recycling. 

Questions and Answers below:


Councillor Cristina Tegolo asked about the number of households that have had their bins removed by the Council: “Could the Leader inform members how many households have had recycling bins removed in the current financial year and previous two years?”

(Answer) 
The following numbers of bins (of all colours) have been asked tobe picked up or removed by residents via the Contact Centre: 

2017/18 706 bins 
2018/19 584 bins 
2019/20 176 bins  (so far)

The majority of these bins are ‘abandoned’ in back street environments and are often contaminated recycling bins, which cannot be emptied on a recycling round. 

Generally speaking an Officer would not remove recycling bins from a household for persistent misuse and contamination other than in the case of capacity, where someone might genuinely have difficulty determining what waste should go in each bin and who inadvertently are incapable of recycling properly. 

Councillor Steve Wright asked about how much of the blue and green bin waste streams were rejected because of ‘contamination’ (the wrong things being put in the bins.The answer – 18.45% of blue bin waste seems extra–ordinarily high – 1 in 6 lorries of rubbish rejected because they are contiminated….. “Could the Leader inform members how many tonnes and what percentage of Bury’s ‘blue bin’ and ‘green bin’ waste streams were rejected due to contamination the current financial year and previous two years?” 

(Answer) All co-mingled recycling (glass, can sand plastic bottles) collected across GM (with the exception of Wigan Council) is delivered to a single sorting facility or MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) at Longley Lane, Sharston in South Manchester. Co-mingled recycling in Bury is collected in the blue bin. 

The average MRF reject rate (for the whole of GM) for the above time period is 18.45%. Rejects consist ofitems incorrectly placed in the co-mingled recycling by residents that cannot be recycled and they are incinerated with associated energy recovery. 

In the previous two years thefollowing tonnages of rejects from Bury have been incinerated: 

2018/19 1733 tonnes 
2017/18 1560 tonnes 

Reject rates for the paper and card recycling stream i.e. the green bin in Bury are minimal by comparison and as such no contamination figures are provided by the GMCA.

Councillor Tim Pickstone asked a related question about the amount of plastic waste which ends up in the ‘grey bins’ stream – the answer seems like quite a lot!:“Could the Council’s spokesperson on the GMWDA inform members what the estimated volume and percentage of plastics are that are disposed of through the residual waste stream?” 

(Answer) Using data from the recent waste composition study, it is estimated that c. 58,841 tonnes of plastic – this is 16.05% for all dense plastics and plastic films in the residual kerbside collected waste stream in Greater Manchester. 

Councillor Steve Wright asked how much money the 9 local councils in Greater Manchester spent on buying Greater Manchester Waste Disposal out of the PFI (private finance initiative) deal with Viridor Laing.The amount (£1/2 billion) is a staggeringly large amount of public money….. “Could the Council’s spokesperson on the GMWDA inform members how much public money was spent releasing the Authority from the previous waste disposal contract with Viridor Laing?”

(Answer) Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority’s £500m buy-out was funded by around £300m in borrowing from the region’s combined authority – via Oldham council, Manchester council and the region’s pension fund – along with £120m government borrowing. The remainder comes from up-front cash already held by GMWDA. 

Finally, in response to a request from a resident, Councillor Tim Pickstone asked about what the council’s approach was when a dead cat was picked up by the refuse collection teams: “Could the Leader inform members what the Council’s approach is to waste collection of dead pets, particularly dead cats (ie cats found dead in the street). What measures are in place to attempt to contact owners through cat’s microchips?

(Answer) When a dead pet (usually a cat) is picked up from the highway by the Street Cleansing service it is brought back to Bradley Fold Depot to be scanned. The exception is those animals that are so mutilated as being incapable of being scanned. 

If the scan detects a microchip it will identify its number. An Officer then contacts an organisation called ‘Petlog’ who will confirm the contact details of the animal’s owner. The same Officer will then contact the owner explaining the situation to them and giving them two options. 

They can leave the animal with Street Cleansing to dispose of, explaining to the owner precisely what this means, i.e. it is delivered to SUEZ at Fernhill Transfer Loading Station for placement in a freezer from which it is collected by another company who remove the animal for cremation. Alternatively, the service will deliver the animal back to its owner if requested. 

If no chip is detected in the animal then it is kept for a maximum of 24 hours on the vehicle before being delivered to SUEZ and placed in the freezer. 

Once an animal is placed in the freezer it cannot be retrieved by the owner because it is then classed as hazardous waste, only to be removed for disposal via incineration. 

Hope these answers are useful – get in touch if you have any questions or comments!

Liberal Democrat Councillors secure more ambitious Climate Change target

Bury’s team of Liberal Democrat councillors have been successful in getting Bury Council to sign up to a ambitious target of 2030 to be a carbon neutral Council and borough, as our part in tackling the climate emergency.

The agreement came as a Liberal Democrat Group amendment to a Labour Group motion on climate change, which had proposed a more modest target of 2038. The Liberal Democrat proposal was accepted and is now the policy of Bury Council.

Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader Tim Pickstone said:

“2038 is not ambitious enough. This is an emergency because we have not done anything about it.

In 1979 this might have been a worry. In 2019 it is an emergency. In 2030 it is game over because this is when scientists tell us that climate change is irreversible damage. It is ridiculous to think that people not even born yet have to wait to be adults before we can achieve this.

What do you do in an emergency? Greta Thunberg tells us that we need to act like our house is on fire. What you don’t do in an emergency is set up a Working Gropu! We are making decisions every day that affect our climate and we need to change policies immediately.

You can see Councillor Pickstone making the proposals here.

Reporting Back: Health Scrutiny Committee

Last month was the Bury’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports:

The Committee’s role involves reviewing and scrutinising any matters relating to the provision and operation of health services in the area of the Council, scrutinising organisations external to the Council and holding the Leader / Cabinet Members to account. Bury’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets in public and includes a public question time at the start of the meeting. Scrutiny committees actively welcome involvement with the public and seek the views of members of the public on services that are being considered. Scrutiny committees also welcome suggestions for subjects to be considered for inclusion in the scrutiny work programme.

Geoff Little, Chief Executive Bury Council provided an update on the Health and Social Care Reforms. Chris O’Gorman, Local Care Organisation Independent Chair, and Julie Gonda, Director of Adult Social Care, provided an update on Bury Local Care Organisation. John Hobday, Consultant in Public Health, provided an overview of key health and well-being data for Bury and Highlited areas for future interventions. Mr Little explained how, despite amount of money being spent, outcomes and health expectancies for Bury people are still not acceptable. In Holyrood life expectancy for 2013 – 2017 for a male was 77.6 years to 79.5 years (inSt. Mary’s it is 79.5 years to 81.4 years)and for females was 82.4 years to 84.1 years (in St. Mary’s is 84.1 years to 85.7 years). Bury “One Commissioning Organisation” wants to have a program of reforms based on the needs of Bury residents, clients and patients. Ultimately and over time the Bury “One Commissioning Organisation” will encompass all strategic commissioning from the Council and CCG and other public services where possible. The main goals are to:

  • Empower Bury people to remain well and make healthy decisions
  • Close the financial gap and improve outcomes 
  • Create a different model based on understanding of families and carers
  • Take control of the system as whole 
  • Improve services in the community for the most vulnerable
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I commented on the importance of education and especially promoting health and wellbeing of children under 5. I also welcomed Bury Council’s plan to empower Bury people to remain well for longer and supporting and caring for people in their homes. However, I pointed out that the Planning department is probably not aware of the objectives of the “One Commissioning Organisations”. I gave as an example the planning meeting that I attended on the previous day, in which a Community Centre at the heart of a residential area, which could be used for exercising classes and health promoting activities, was changed into offices and a block of apartments (in Green Belt and in Conservation Area) had received planning permission even if the 16 apartments were missing the most basic accessibility and inclusive design standards.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Reporting Back: Planning Committee

Last week was the monthly meeting of Bury Planning Control Committee. This is the meeting made up of the 11 Councillors who represent the various wards of the borough of Bury. The committee determines planning applications for certain major developments and others where objections have been received. 

Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports: 
Details of all the planning applications mentioned below can be found here

Prior to the Committee meeting, a site visit took place in respect of planning application 63630.

The following applications received approval without major concerns:

Radcliffe – East App No. 63523
We discussed the proposal for a new 3-bedroom detached house in Radcliffe. The building utilises an oddly shaped plot of land, which is bounded by houses and commercial units and is accessible from a back street (App No. 63523). 

Radcliffe – West App No. 64199
We discussed the proposal for the erection of two rows of terraced houses, with 4 dwellings each, on either side of Hutchinson Way, Radcliffe. The site did contain a number of trees, but these were removed prior to the application being validated and processed. The Committee commented on this matter and this issue will be reported to the Forestry Commission. I commented on the development lacking any architectural creativity and that aesthetic should also be considered when granting planning permission to developments that shape our streets and towns.

The following applications received approval but we raised several concerns:

Prestwich – Holyrood App No. 64173
We discussed a proposed change of use for Heaton Park Congregational Church in Bailey Street, Prestwich. The application, which was submitted by Bridge-it Enterprises, proposes to change the ground floor from church/community space (Class D1) to office (Class B1) and converting the multi-purpose space into three offices with a lobby. Bridge-it Enterprises is closely linked to Bridge-it Housing, which works with former offenders and homeless clients, and receive several visitors during the day. 

The residents’ representative expressed concerns about security, traffic and parking issues. The representative of Bridge-it Enterprise stated that the offices would just be used to undertake administrative work by only approximately five staff. Both Cllr Steve Wright and Cllr Tim Pickstone talked about the importance of listening to local residents and of good communication, “if a meeting with the residents had been arranged by Bridge-it Enterprises the matter could have been cleared before escalating to the Planning Committee”. 

I commented on the importance of community centres and that right now our local community has very limited spaces and that we should cherish safe spaces for young people and families to go to that they can engage and congregate. As a result of the concerns raised, the application was amended and a condition was included to reassure the residents that the building will only be used for admin work.

Summerseat – Bury App No. 63630
We discussed the proposal for the erection of a block of 16 apartments, of 4 storeys, by the river Irwell and off Kay Street.

The site, used in a recent past as a car park, is located within Green Belt and in the Brooksbottoms Conservation Area. The residents’ representative and the ward councillor argued that the proposal was detrimental to the local community and raised their concerns regarding the significant impact on the local environment. The representative for the developer focused on the real need for houses in Bury, the constructive relationship that the architects and the Planning Department had to agree the most appropriate mass, location and materials.

I raised some concerns as, in my own opinion, the development is not sympathetic to the “Spinnings” and the “Gatehouse”, two Grade II listed buildings on the opposite side of the river Irwell, and its elevations are not responding to the local context and main views. I was happy that the proposal had included electrical vehicles charging stations but I also noted that the Council should encourage and promote cycling and that the development is missing at ground floor level a secured storage area for bicycles.

However, my real main concern was that the building is not suitable for older people, disabled people and families with young children. The building is 4 storeys high but there isn’t a lift and none of the ground floor apartments provides accessibility features. As a result of my concerns, the application was amended and two conditions were included: (1) The developer should submit an Inclusive Design Statement and (2) a bicycle parking facility should be added.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Plan to Tackle Knife Crime

Ahead of his debate on 27 June 2019 in Parliament, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson in the Lords, has launched a five-point plan to tackle the knife crime epidemic.

His public health approach which he has called on the Conservative Government to enact is outlined below:

  1. Enabling parents to be there for their children by tackling in-work poverty & providing the support parents and their children need.
  2. Safe and healthy alternatives to gangs: providing a positive safety net for those whose parents can’t provide the support their children need.
  3. Healing the damage caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences by addressing the psychological impact with intervention at ‘teachable moments’ and countering the normalisation of violence through compulsory sex and relationship education.
  4. Inclusive education: fewer excluded pupils, adaptable education that addresses every pupil’s needs, including teaching the realities of criminal gangs.
  5. United against knife crime: restoring community policing so police and communities can work on the same side against the knife carriers.

Following the launch of the plan, Brian Paddick said:

“Knife crime claims a new life almost every day but the Conservatives are not taking the crisis seriously. We have witnessed devastating cuts to our police force as well as a piecemeal approach which fails to make any impact.

Knife crime is a public health emergency and therefore demands a public health response. Government departments should be working together to enact the changes we need to get a grip of this rise in violent crime.

The knife crime epidemic needs a cohesive and joined-up approach which is what the Liberal Democrats have put forward. Not only must we address the decimation of community policing, but we must tackle other factors driving knife crime such as in work poverty and school exclusions.

So tomorrow I will call on the Government to enact our plan. By doing so, we can move towards a society where young people are safe on our streets.”

Updated Bee Network Cycle Map

Greater Manchester’s councils have published an update map of the ‘Bee Network’ a proposed network of cycle and pedestrian-friendly routes and areas, as well as announcing a number of new schemes across the city region.

The revised map shows the proposed network of cycle friendly routes, as well as the ‘busy bee’ routes earmarked as major cycle friendly routes in the future.

The new map can be accessed here. A a change from the previous map published last year a section of Bury Old Road and Heywood Road has been included as a ‘Busy Bee’ route as an alternative to coming through Prestwich village.

Also announced yesterday is a new set of infrastructure projects across Greater Manchester to begin to implement this strategy. When the first set of projects were announced Bury failed to have a single scheme included.

In the new proposals there is a cycle friendly scheme proposed around Fishpool, just south of Bury town centre, at a total cost of £3.6 million, which is welcome. Bury remains the ‘poor relation’ with schemes every other Borough included in the scheme getting more money – in Salford and Wigan’s case £30 and £32 million respectively.

A full list of the current proposed schemes is here.

Consultation on GM Clean Air Zone closes 30 June 2019

The current public consultation phase on Greater Manchester’s proposals for Clean Air Zone’s closes on 30 June 2019.

The proposals are for daily charges in Greater Manchester for lorries, buses, taxes and vans that do not meet strict emissions regulations – these would be £100 per day for lorries and buses, and £7.50 per day for taxis and vans.

Before proposals are taken further, members of the public are being asked for our views. Take part in the consultation here.

To find out more about our Clean Air proposals visit: https://cleanairgm.com/

Reporting Back: Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Last week was the first Overview & Scrutiny meeting of the new Council year which saw a series of presentations by representatives from the different Council departments. These outlined each department’s work programme and priorities for the coming year. 

Councillor Michael Powell reports on some of the key priorities for each area are below:

Strategy and transformation:
– Developing a ‘corporate core’- bringing support services and staff together to build up capacity and improve efficiency- Quarterly budget monitoring report updates to be sent to Councillors as well as end of year reports- Lead officers to be put in charge of each work stream (e.g. Finance, Governance, ICT and Digital, HR)Children and young people:
– Increasing number of foster carers inside the borough and reducing reliance on external carers- Enhanced support for care leavers- Working to further reduce permanent exclusion numbers- Enhanced early support strategy to support new LAC (Looked After Children)- Implement early intervention schemes in schools needing support

Operations:
– Continuing to work towards a more productive and reliable waste service operation- Implementing a ‘preventative maintenance’ approach to highways (i.e. developing a programme for all roads to be addressed after a set period to prevent deterioration of highways)- Introducing a plastic strategy to minimise use of single-use plastics across the borough- Improving the customer interface to make reporting problems involving highways even easier and more efficient for residents

Business growth and infrastructure:
– Beginning work on regeneration scheme in Radcliffe- Implementing £10 million investment in Prestwich village centre (following consultation process with residents in the Summer)- Continuing to develop land and property portfolio- Moving forwards with GM spatial framework and focusing on scope for development on brownfield sites- Working towards potential regeneration of Bury Interchange (supported by T4GM)

The papers for the meeting are here. Any questions please just ask! 

Help Choose the next Lib Dem Leader

This summer, Liberal Democrat members will be electing a new Party leader. There are two candidates:

Find out more about Jo Swinson MP

Find out more about Ed Davey MP

Every member gets an equal say in choosing who they want to lead our party. To get your vote, all you need to do is join the Liberal Democrats by midnight on Friday 7th June. Membership starts at as little as £1 per month.

Join the thousands of people who’ve already joined us this year and shape the direction of our party and our country.

North West hustings for the new Leader take place on 14 June 2019, 7pm in Manchester.

European Elections – Thank you!

Well done to the North West’s two new Liberal Democrat members of the European Parliament – Chris Davies and Jane Brophy.

Chris, who lives in Oldham, was MEP for the North West until 2014. Jane, who lives in Timperley, is a local Liberal Democrat councillor on Trafford Council. They join the largest ever team of Liberal Democrats MEPs – 16 across Great Britain.

The North West Region has 8 MEPs, which are allocated proportionately depending the votes for each Party. Results for the North West region were:

Brexit Party 31.2% – 3 MEPs

Labour 21.91 – 2 MEPs

Liberal Democrats 17.2% – 2 MEPs

Green Party 12.4% – 1 MEP

Conservative 7.6%

UKIP – 3.6%

Change UK – 2.7%

Bury’s votes are counted separately before being added towards the North West total. Bury’s votes were:

Brexit Party 31.3%

Labour 21.2%

Liberal Democrats 16.2%

Green Party 11.3%

Conservative 9.6%

UKIP 3.5%

Change UK 3.2%