Bio waste collection causes food for thought

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A proposal for Ballymoney Borough Council to start collecting bio waste has resulted in a DUP split - with one member walking out at a recent meeting.

Cllr Evelyne Robinson left the Full Council meeting on Monday after a recommendation to enter into a contract for a kitchen/garden waste recycling service was deferred by her DUP colleague Alderman Bill Kennedy.

The issue was originally raised during a recent Health and Environmental Service Committee meeting when Cllr Ian Stevenson, seconded by Cllr Evelyne Robinson, recommended that Council enters into a contract with Natural World Products so that local kitchen and garden waste could be processed and diverted from landfill.

The proposal continued: ‘It is recommended that the collection of food waste be phased in and initially this service be based on the existing ‘brown’ bin system which would be collected throughout the year. Also that an application be made on behalf of Council to WRAP for funding to cover the purchase of caddies, initial three months supply of biodegradable bags and for the supply, publication and distribution costs associated with the new service to be provided in 2014-15.”

However during last Monday’s Full Council meeting, Alderman Kennedy questioned the costings, funding and running of the scheme. He explained: “I suggest we put this on the agenda for the next Committee meeting and have costings. I would like more information including cost of running the scheme and the possibility of funding. I want more time to explore as I wasn’t at the meeting and have only just got these minutes.”

Alderman Frank Campbell seconded the proposal.

Cllr John Finlay also asked: “Did we not agree at the rates meeting not to put this in?”

In response Cllr Robinson explained that funding was available and that Council should be providing a service to recycle kitchen waste, taking it out of the ‘black’ bin, as many other councils in Northern Ireland were doing. She highlighted that availing of the funding available from WRAP would assist with the cost of the service and outlined that the Chief Executive had suggested that food could be added to the brown bins which would create a minimum of costs.

She added: “It seems necessary practice for this Council to accept this scheme and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”

In response to Ald Kennedy regarding costing, Cllr Robinson stated that ‘costings were investigated’ adding that the cost of putting it in brown bins was £45 per tonne and if it went to landfill it was £80 per tonne.

Cllr Stevenson was supportive of his colleagues comments.

The Director of Borough Services then reminded members that ‘it was the decision of Council at its rates meeting not to proceed with any service enhancements.”

Ald Kennedy again suggested that the decision be put back, he added: “Not everyone has a brown bin in the borough and this is not collected at this time of year. It’s nothing to defer this and simply bring it back with costings. I mean would we need another bin lorry, more collection men, there’s so many things we need to look into.”

However Cllr Stevenson said there was ‘no need to defer it again’ continuing: “If some people weren’t at the meeting then it’s not our problem.”

Ald Campbell reminded members that he had seconded Cllr Kennedy’s proposal to defer adding: “I think Ald Kennedy it right”.

It was voted five to defer the decision and four against.

In response Cllr Robinson hit out: “I want it recorded that I am utterly appalled by this decision.” Cllr Stevenson agreed.

Hitting back at Cllr Robinson’s comments, Ald Kennedy stated: “There are no costings here. I am a councillor interested in ratepayers’ money and am appalled at her attitude.”

Cllr Robinson then asked to be excused from the meeting and walked out passed Ald Campbell.

Seconds after the DUP councillor had left, Cllr Campbell said: “Cllr Robinson just walked pasted my chair and called me a turn coat - I want that recorded that I was called a turncoat sitting in this chamber tonight.”

Ending the debate Cllr John Finlay moved on to the next Committee meeting agenda adding: “It’s the Corporate and Central Services Committee meeting now - who’s going to read the notes as Cllr Robinson is Chair and she’s now left.”