(Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services)) To consider the attached report.
The Chairman had received some comments from Councillor C McCredie, who had given her apologies for this meeting, and at her request read these out to members as detailed below:
· She thanked the Service Manager (Contracts), J Warwick, for his help in organising a distribution point for clear recycling sacks in Epping Green.
· It had been brought to her attention the quantity of litter around [Epping] town and that several community minded people collected it. This was great but she had contacted the Council as she felt this could be assisted more by the street cleansing team and even an education programme.
· She had spoken to Marks and Spencer regarding its new recycling facility and to the retailer’s provider. She had also spoken to Terra-cycle regarding recycling the currently un-recyclables, which was interesting. As the Council had declared the climate emergency, she firmly believed the Council should be exploring these avenues.
· She believed in getting the message out to the next generation, today’s youngsters.
(1) The Panel was asked to make recommendations on the following options.
a) Results of the street cleansing pilot and the additional residential roads to be included in the new street cleansing programme
The street cleansing pilot from November 2019 to January 2020 where some residential roads had been moved from a two-weekly to a three-weekly cleansing cycle, had not resulted in an increase in complaints. This had allowed additional cleansing of some through roads in the District to reduce the level and perception of littering. The results of inspections by officers confirmed that there had been no decrease in the street scene and positive visual effects were seen on the through roads. Thus the change of cleansing cycle on residential roads and reuse of resources to increase litter collections on through roads would lead to service delivery improvements.
The Waste and Recycling Manager, D Marsh, explained that the data in the report showed that over two tonnes of extra road waste was removed during the trial. When the three-weekly cycle totals were included, a total tonnage of just under four tonnes of waste was collected during the trial period.
The Service Manager, J Warwick, reported that as the results supported the completed trial, the Panel was asked for its recommendations and to agree that additional residential streets be included in the new street cleansing programme.
Councillor S Neville asked why those particular roads were included in the trial and was this from complaints?
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied complaints were generally low. It was the visual effect of white litter on the roadside. The increasing amount of litter was not always from people living in the District but travelling through. The public perception was to add to litter that remained there, so the Council was looking at ways to tackle the problem and this had helped concentrate on removing roadside litter.
Councillor J H Whitehouse said that this had been a worthwhile trial, but what was the measurement being used to judge the roads? Regarding roadside littering, the roads in Coopersale were not roads that people walked along, and on residential roads, street cleansing would move to a three-weekly cycle.
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied that the measurement was in relation to the rough tonnages being collected in a day’s work, not to the road. On three-weekly cleansing, there had been no increase in the litter collected and would move to a fixed schedule to collect litter.
Councillor C C Pond asked if the state of the whole length of the road was looked at, e.g. for Goldings Hill, Loughton?
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied that the bottom part of Goldings Hill was done daily but not the Forest part, which was different.
Councillor C C Pond replied that he did not disagree with this and that the trial had been worthwhile as the approach roads into Epping Forest District did attract heavy littering.
Councillor M Sartin asked about the collection of litter on rural roads?
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied that at the start of the Waste contract the Council had accepted that litter from rural roads would be done by mechanical broom but verges were being eroded while litter was not being concentrated on. Also, residents would notice litter on rural roads but not detritus, and mowing verges shredded and dispersed litter. Waste Management had looked at moving from using mechanical brooms on rural roads to the cleansing of litter by teams. Fly-tipping in rural roads was a target because they were quiet.
Councillor S Rackham asked about the Council using enforcement.
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied that the change in law had allowed the registered keeper of a vehicle to be held accountable but he was unsure of the Council’s enforcement capabilities.
Councillor M Sartin asked if this was realistic enforcement.
The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services), Q Durrani, replied that the Service Director (Community & Partnership Services), J Chandler, and the Community Resilience Service Manager, C Wiggins, were looking at how to tackle this, along with the Neighbourhood & Environment (N&E) enforcement officers. Dashcam footage / evidence could also be used. This would likely happen when the N&E enforcement team was at full strength. The Service Director (Community & Partnership Services) and her team were working with Highways England on its national scheme of using fixed cameras that detected when litter was dropped. An ongoing trial, the Littercam initiative, on the M25 slip roads (on and off) would test the new legislation and would be an opportunity to see if Littercam was working. Otherwise, Court prosecution was a lengthy route.
Councillor D Wixley remarked that when he had left the M25 at junction 7 recently he had been appalled by the amount of litter on the slip road.
(1) The Panel recommended that further work on the street cleansing schedule was done to monitor and measure the impact; and
(2) That any changes to the street cleansing schedule would need to be approved by Cabinet before being implemented.
(b) Determine selections on bin designs to help improve the provision of waste and recycling containers including the segregation of recyclables from general waste
The Service Manager (Contracts) asked members for their preferred bin designs and to help identify where the bins should replace existing bins as part of a pilot exercise.
Members made the following observations:
· What were the bins made from?
· Which of these bins was the best option?
· Some bins appeared to be larger;
· As residents would have to live with the bins, the Council should be aware of the street scene and they should not be too garish;
· How many different options could members choose?
· Would there be different bins for different locations?
· Was there a choice of colour and signage?
· Did all recycling go into the bin?
· A neighbouring London Borough had installed Amberol bins but they got filthy.
· Urban Unicorn was a favourable design but might not fit into every location. As an example, Loughton High Road had wooden bins put in during the 2003 town enhancement.
· How would the bins be installed?
The Waste and Recycling Manager advised that all the bins designs had separate compartments for recyclables and general waste. The Glasdon Nexus 200 (option 1) was a plastic based bin. Broxat Derby E Double (2) and Broxap Synergy (3) were both metal based bins. The Wybone (4) and Urban Unicorn (6) bins were made from a composite material. Amberol Olympic (5) was a plastic based bin. Composite bins were unlikely to fracture, but the Wybone bin was the least suitable design because the flat roof would encourage people to sit on top. Most of the bins had the capability of taking chewing gum and cigarette stubs. The Amberol and Urban Unicorn bins were robust but he preferred the Urban Unicorn as the hinges were inside the bin and the roof discouraged people from sitting on it. Bins did differ in size - the Amberol occupied a larger floor space compared to the Urban Unicorn but the capacity was the same. It was preferable to go for members’ top two options. For most of the designs there was a choice of colour and signage. All recycling went into the bin. The waste would be recycled and join the household recycling waste to go through the same resorting process. All the bins in one location would be replaced first followed by a media campaign, letter awareness to residents and litter picking initiative.
The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services) added that it would be better to recommend one or two designs. When there were exceptions, where the Council could, it would install bins that were more suitable.
Members chose the Urban Unicorn as the preferred bin design. The Amberol came second, with possibly the wooden bin (5) from the previous December agenda for when this might be an option.
(1) That high street bins be recommended to be replaced with a new style bin to allow the segregation of waste and recycling materials; and
(2) That the recommendation was for the Urban Unicorn bin design.
c) Update on segregation of food and garden waste
The Service Manager (Contracts) and the Waste and Recycling Manager had attended a meeting in January 2020 with Essex County Council (ECC), Rochford District Council and Basildon Council to discuss the segregation of food and garden waste. There were three Districts in Essex that still had co-mingled waste. Defra had indicated it would work closely with local authorities to rollout separate household food waste collections in England by 2023. ECC expected further Government consultation from September 2020 with the results due in early 2021.
ECC also reported that its contract to dispose of co-mingled waste expired in March 2021 and there were only two contractors offering this service to sites located in Suffolk and on the east coast of Essex. ECC was concerned at the lack of investment companies made into these types of disposal facilities.
The Panel was advised that officers would continue to have discussions with Biffa through the Waste Management Partnership Board, and should there be a policy change required, this would be reported to Cabinet.
(1) That the Panel recommended officers continue to discuss the future collection of food and garden waste in separate containers with Biffa;
(2) That officers would keep abreast of further Government guidance to help inform a decision on the future collection of garden and food waste separately; and
(3) That any future changes to service delivery would be discussed by the Waste Management Partnership Board and presented to Cabinet for approval.
d) Current issues regarding parking and communal bins that were impacting on waste management service delivery
The agenda report detailed a list of roads throughout the District where Biffa had encountered access problems on three or more occasions and had been unable to collect refuse because of inconsiderate parking.
Councillor C C Pond remarked that he had contacted the Waste Management Team recently because residents were fed up with their waste going uncollected. There was good evidence where obstructions were happening, e.g. on Marlescroft, Barrington Green and Barrington Road in Loughton, and double lines were needed. The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) was collecting views on double lining junctions on the Debden Estate.
The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services) replied that parking problems were exacerbated by inconsiderate behavior and commuter parking. As NEPP is self-financing it could only undertake about six schemes in each District. The Epping Forest District had well over a hundred sites. The Police could issue fixed penalty notices but usually had more urgent issues to deal with. There were enforcement type actions that could be taken.
The Service Manager (Contracts) commented that Loughton Broadway had coordinated a members’ meeting to look at NEPP’s proposals to help alleviate issues. Also, Biffa and the Waste Management Team had produced a leaflet to put on vehicles parked inconsiderately. Fire engines could also encounter access problems. On the Oakwood Hill Estate in Loughton, vehicles were often parked in front of bin stores, which meant Biffa could not gain access. Waste Management officers had spoken to Housing colleagues to help educate residents.
Councillor D Wixley agreed about the bad parking but there were complaints that the refuse trucks were too large for some on the District’s roads, which made it difficult for them to negotiate narrow roads, and they went over verges. A balance was needed rather than making parking more difficult as it was not necessarily residents, who could have parking permits. Were there any other solutions?
The Waste and Recycling Manager replied that the size of the current refuse trucks was 32 tonnes, but 15 years ago the sizes were 26 tonnes or smaller. The larger vehicles were needed to reduce costs. Otherwise, there would be more frequent trips back to unload, which was a cost to the environment. Therefore, there were less journeys/movements and vehicles.
The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services) added that as the District had over a thousand roads, the Council would want to use the larger trucks on the majority of the roads. Most of the access problems were potentially to do with car parking issues.
Councillor S Neville commented on Alfred Road in Buckhurst Hill that had one way in and out. There were also bollards on the pavement at the junction and that there was commuter parking.
Councillor M Sartin asked if the Waste Management Team could be more proactive because looking ahead there would be more developments coming along.
The Waste and Manager said that officers used the ‘EFDC Waste and Recycling Provisions for new residential and business developments. Good practice guide for developers. This was to help planners allow sufficient space, e.g. for the turning circle of refuse trucks.
Councillor C C Pond said that all councillors were members of the planning committees so it would be useful to have this guidance to hand, to which the Waste and Recycling Manager replied that this could be circulated to councillors. Could officers that attend the NEPP meetings be asked to put in parking restrictions where practically possible? This was noted.
Councillor D Wixley was concerned about bins overflowing, which Biffa was not emptying, and it should not be up to members to have to report these. The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services) replied that some rubbish put in bins was not street litter, but trade or residential waste.
Councillor C C Pond recounted seeing trade waste being placed in street bins in Loughton in the High Road, Shaftesbury and Staples Road.
The Waste and Recycling Manager explained that Biffa had a ‘hot’ list of certain bins that overflowed and had been instructed by Waste Management to use different coloured sacks for different days when they emptied these bins. This sack colour scheme was another element of monitoring, especially for these problem bins. Under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act, fixed penalty notices (FPNs) could be issued to perpetrators caught putting commercial or residential waste into street bins. Waste Management would be prepared to produce evidence to enable the Council to take a case to Court.
Councillor D Wixley said that he reported overflowing bins and that it might be necessary for problem bins to have daily collections. If operatives emptied bins that were three quarters full, a pattern of monitoring problem bins would build up.
The Service Director (Contracts & Technical Services) replied that Waste Management would look at the ‘hot’ list and produce an update on the state of the problem litter bins.
(1) That the Panel noted the current issues regarding parking and communal bins that were impacting on waste management service deliver.