Croydon’s streets are a fast becoming a grubby, rat-infested example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
When Croydon’s council opted to change its collection schedule for wheelie bins and recycling, the aim was presented two-fold: to improve recycling rates (laudable) and cost-cutting.
Since October, we have reported on the haphazard nature of the implementation of these changes. The failures are wide-ranging:
- Illogical planning, having the final green waste collection of 2011 before the leaves had dropped from trees
- Poor communication, misinformation and confusing public notices
- Widespread missed collections
- Undelivered new recycling boxes and lids
More than two months on and the council has claimed initial success for recycling rates (something which will be worth monitoring closely in future), but there is growing evidence, right under our feet, that the new fortnightly bin collection scheme is going to turn out more costly in a whole range of ways.
For a start, the dirty streets will surely become costly in reputation terms at this difficult time as Croydon tries to establish itself as a place to attract business. Over-flowing street bins and black bin bags spilling all sorts of rubbish – from part-eaten fast food to used nappies – do nothing to win over new visitors.
To assist with this, we are running a poll on the site, and would ask that you take the time to click on the option that is most applicable to you and your neighbourhood.
Here at Inside Croydon Towers, we monitored carefully the service we received from the council’s contractors over the first eight weeks of the new system, and found that six times out of eight, there were boxes of rubbish or for recycling – all ready on the appropriate day – left uncollected.
A 25 per cent success rate. Frankly, Croydon Council, that’s rubbish.
Notably, the post-Christmas collection – conducted at the weekend – was done with commendable efficiency. Hmmm – no chance that generous overtime payments were involved?
But among the more troubling unintended consequences of the changes have been the ability of many Croydon residents and businesses to ignore the collection days and simply push their overflowing wheelie bins out on to the pavement, or dump their bin bags and carrier bags on the streets whenever it suits them.
Not only is this an eyesore and health hazard – feral foxes and other vermin have never had it so good – but it has a cost to the council and, therefore, to Council Tax-payers.
The council won’t furnish us with figures, but there is a strong suspicion that, since the Town Hall’s redundancy round last year, there are fewer roadsweepers employed by Croydon in 2012 than in 2010.
For the majority of the borough’s streets, those staff cuts means that they remain unswept for longer than in the past. And because of the policy change over bin collections, there is now more rubbish being strewn across the streets than before.
The council does have a department which will take reports of fly-tipping and bin bags left on the streets, and – when there’s a member of staff free and able to take a phone call – they have been found to be quite reliable at getting a van out to clear up other people’s mess. But that clearly has some cost implication. And if they are being called out more often than in the past, that will be an increased cost.
In the past, council officers who attended scenes of fly tipping would investigate – ie rummage through someone else’s crap – to try to discover the source of the rubbish. We have been told that – again because of the cuts – this may no longer be done to the same levels of the past.
And of course, the rubbish that is casually, selfishly, dumped on the roadside in the expectation that someone else will come along and clear it up, will usually go straight to landfill. Thus one of the new rubbish collection scheme’s principle goals is fatefully undermined.
And the savings? Well, while we’re spending increasing amounts sending out vans and carts to collect bin bags and other rubbish left festering on the pavements and roads, maybe the projected figures lovingly prepared at the Town Hall might prove to be less worthwhile than first thought. That is soooo Croydon.
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- Croydon bin collections: It really is a load of old rubbish (insidecroydon.com)
- Another rubbish idea that’s only fit for the bin in Croydon (insidecroydon.com)
- Rubbish? Greens smell a rat over this recycling scheme (insidecroydon.com)
- Report says Nestle poised to announce it is to quit Croydon (insidecroydon.com)