‘Too much, too soon’ were the words of DUP MP David Simpson as he summed up the findings of the Banbridge Bin survey and called for the four weekly bin collections to be scrapped.
The survey, which was conducted over the past three weeks by the DUP to ascertain the general consensus around the change in bin collection frequency, has shown a majority is against the new scheme.
Both a street survey and an online survey were carried out, with over 1,000 responses online and 927 comments made.
While Mr Simpson said he recognised the benefits of striving towards higher recycling rates, he felt the four weekly bin collection policy was just too much too soon for the vast majority of rate payers.
“It had become apparent to our party that there was a growing concern and frustration around the four weekly bin collection which was rolled out last year across 15 refuse collection routes in Banbridge,” said Mr Simpson.
“We as a party decided to speak to the people on the ground and not hide behind closed doors like other political parties on this very important issue.
“It must be said that we remain committed to ensuring that household rates are maintained at a low level and there is no doubt that the four week cycle has been hugely successful in saving money and will in the long term help keep rates low.”
The party gave its support to the pilot scheme when it was initiated and have said they remain satisfied that it has been successful in helping increase recycling rates significantly.
“However, it is also apparent that the vast majority of people across Banbridge are somewhat unhappy with the change in policy for a plethora of reasons namely the disposal of nappies and medical waste, the fact that the green bin is full and overflowing with recycling waste and Council have not increased the collection rate for them,” Mr Simpson continued.
“It was also evident that people are frustrated with the perceived heavy handedness of council officials sticking notices on their bins and going through their rubbish and there is a very real concern about the summer months and the smell, potential for increased fly tipping and further problems.”
Calling for a return of the two weekly collection, Mr Simpson said: “Given the results of our survey we believe it is essential that Banbridge Council revisit this policy decision and resume the normal two weekly cycle for the remainder of its Council life.
“Banbridge Council in its current form will cease to exist in approximately 12 weeks therefore it is essential that this situation is dealt with prior to entering the new Council scenario.”
Mr Simpson further requested that the findings be formulated to deliver a detailed business case to the new Council.
“I understand that the Environmental Services Department is in the process of carrying out telephone surveys currently and this is a welcome step however, it is essential that the four week cycle cease with immediate effect and all data presented to the new ABC Councillors for their decision.”
“Banbridge District Council have and continue to lead the way in terms of recycling across all Local Government Authorities. They are continuing to break new ground and this brave and courageous step has I believe provided evidence that can be used in future decision making.”
While some of the comments in the survey welcomed the move as ‘positive’ and ‘forward-thinking’, others have said it is ‘inconvenient’ ‘forced’ and ‘impractical’ calling it ‘a complete disgrace’ and a ‘joke’.