Free bulky waste collection to continue

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to extend a pilot scheme that saw it offer a bulky waste collection service for free for a further 12 months.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:53 pm

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to extend a pilot scheme that saw it offer a bulky waste collection service for free for a further 12 months.

The recommendation to do so was unanimously agreed upon by elected representatives at a behind closed doors meeting of Council’s environmental services working group on Tuesday, May 4.

Despite all members present reaching a unanimous agreement on this matter, it will require rubber stamping by the organisation’s Chief Executive, Roger Wilson, via his powers of delegated authority, although it is anticipated this will be a formality.

Council had offered a bulky waste collection service for free in the 2020-21 financial year.

A total of 7,623 bulky waste collections were carried out in the 2020/21 financial year. Had these been paid for, as they would have been in the 2019/20 financial year, this could have generated £45,738 for Council.

Speaking at March’s meeting of Council’s environmental services committee, Council’s head of environmental services, Barry Patience, accepted 2020 was not a “normal year” for data on the use of the service to be collected.

Although he did note that prior to the introduction of free bulky waste collections, the service had been generating £25-30,000 in revenue for Council.

SDLP Councillor Ciaran Toman made a proposal at that meeting for officers to bring a report back to the committee on the possibility of an extension of the fee free bulky waste collection service.

The proposal was seconded by his party colleague, Councillor Thomas Larkham.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week, Cllr Toman welcomed the working group’s ability to speak with one voice on this matter.

“It has been a tough year for everyone,” said Cllr Toman. “While Council carried out 7,623 bulky waste collections over the past year, the recorded fly-tipping incidents jumped from 346 in 2019/20 to 636 in 2020/21.

“This suggests some form of direct correlation between the closing of our recycling centres and the postponed bulky waste collections which were affected by the pandemic.

“I very much see bulky waste collections as an essential service in Council’s efforts to tackle fly-tipping and keeping our streets and countryside clean.

“I am pleased there was unanimous agreement to maintain the system as it is, fee-free and review it again in a further 12 months.”

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