14 Dec 2011

Brown bins for Birkenhead

I get so many complaints from residents across Birkenhead & Tranmere who are unfairly excluded from the garden waste recycling scheme. Below is the latest comment from the Council which at least offers some hope that the scheme may be extended:

Dear Mr Cleary,

Re: Garden Waste Collection Service

Thank you for taking the time to contact Wirral Council to request information regarding the Garden Waste collection service.

The Waste and Recycling team have recently carried out a full analysis of the garden waste collection service.  This involved an assessment of the borough to identify areas and roads where the properties do have gardens but are not on the service. This piece of work was completed in September and this information was passed to our Garden Waste Collection Contractor, Biffa, to assess the additional operational requirements and work out the most efficient way of expanding the service to the additional properties.  It is highly likely that this will require Biffa to completely restructure the service, meaning many existing customers will have collection day changes and routes the trucks currently work to will change. 

After this work has been completed we can determine whether we are able to service all the additional properties with existing resources.  If we can expand the service at no additional revenue cost to the Council then we would expect to roll out brown garden waste bins to new and additional properties (Craven Close and surrounds included) towards the end of February, with a view to starting collections from 1st April 2012.   We are hopeful that this will be the senario that will happen.

However, if there were an annual revenue cost to expanding the service, then the Council would consider the request for additional funding as part of the 2012/13 budget setting process, which would include public consultation.  Even if the funding was approved, this means that the earliest the scheme could be expanded would be Spring 2013.  In the event that additional revenue is required, Elected Members and Chief Officers involved in the decision making process will be informed of all complaints that have been made from residents waiting to join the scheme.

In the meamtime, garden waste can be put into your green refuse bin for collection.  If you or anyone living at your property has access to a vehicle, you can take also garden waste to any of the Household Waste Recycling Centres:

Bidston Moss, Wallasey Bridge Road, Birkenhead.
Greenbank Road, West Kirby.
Mount Road, Clatterbridge.

If you have any further queries regarding the waste and recycling service, please do not hesitate to contact Streetscene on 606-2004. 

2 Dec 2011

letter to the press re strikes

The Con-LibDem coaltion's relentless attacks on public sector jobs and services must be resisted. The Green Party, unlike the Labour Party, supported Wednesday's strike action because the public sector provides services vital to a civilised society and a healthy economy.

Destroying jobs and services and reducing pay and pensions in the public sector damage rather than help the economy. This can be seen in the catastrophic unemployment figures and from every economic indicator--including a rising Government borrowing requirement, with tax receipts down and benefit payments up. Meanwhile the bankers and chief executives continue to "earn" obscene salaries and bonuses.

David Cameron's contemptuous"damp squib" remark is typically glib, insulting and inappropriate. His government's policies are similarly wrong-headed, worsening rather than improving the lives of millions, and deserve to be opposed.

1 Dec 2011


Wirral Council is conducting a review of its streetscene enforcement strategy and policies. I have submitted the following comments on fly-tipping:

I would like to submit some comments to this Review on the subject of fly-tipping.

Your notes point out that fly-tipping is mainly a problem in back entries. I believe this is correct. However, while this problem may be relatively isolated, for those affected it has a huge impact on their quality of life.

Over the past three years the Green Party has conducted regular door-to-door surveys in the Birkenhead and Tranmere ward. Without doubt, the number one complaint from residents relates to fly-tipping. It cannot be an understatement in my view to say that fly-tipping is endemic in this part of Wirral.

While residents are grateful that back entries are cleared of rubbish on a regular basis, there is widespread anger at Wirral Council's failure to prosecute those guilty of fly-tipping. Over recent years, not a single prosecution has been brought for fly-tipping in the Birkenhead and Tranmere area. It is therefore hardly surprising that irresponsible residents feel they can dump rubbish with impunity. The sad result is that the impacts of fly-tipping are now a routine part of life for most residents. This will never change until the relevant authorities take seriously their obligations to pursue fly-tippers and set an example for the wider community.

Currently, I do not believe that Wirral Council takes these obligations seriously. On many occasions I have been contacted by residents who can identify those responsible for fly-tipping and assume that Wirral Council will support them in this end. However, the response received is, in my view, quite the opposite. Warning residents of the need to appear in court and the resulting costs imposed on the authority is not a response that suggests that Wirral Council is eager to prosecute fly-tippers. Indeed, many residents take the view that Wirral Council has a policy of not pursuing prosecutions for fly-tipping.

People have a right to live in a clean environment and their local authority should be supportive of this. I would therefore suggest the following:

  • that Wirral Council reassesses its approach to fly-tipping and implements a medium term strategy to significantly reduce the incidents of fly-tipping
  • that, as part of this review, Wirral Council recognises that it already has sufficient statutory powers to prosecute fly-tippers
  • that, instead of discouraging those residents who wish to see those guilty of fly-tipping prosecuted, Wirral Council begins to engage positively and support these residents
  • that any short term costs associated with prosecuting fly-tipping will be more than repaid by a long term reduction in this anti-social behaviour

I hope that Wirral Council can recognise that fly-tipping is a really serious issue in certain areas and that it's current approach merely amounts to damage limitation rather than a robust, medium term strategy. I look forward to a revised approach and would be delighted to assist in any way I can in advancing this.