McAteer’s fury over green bin collections

Councillor Watson McAteer
Councillor Watson McAteer

Councillor Watson McAteer has deplored the fact no arrangements are in place for elderly and vulnerable residents without transport to dispose of garden waste.

“I am extremely disappointed that, a year since the green bin collections were withdrawn, nothing appears to have happened,” said the Hawick and Denholm Independent.

In October last year when an 8,000-signature petition from ex-councillor Andrew Farquhar calling for reinstatement of the service was rejected, Scottish Borders Council gave a commitment to “utilise resilient communities [set up to cope with emergency weather events] to support the elderly and vulnerable”.

But a report to council last week revealed this effort had drawn a blank and no alternative solution had been found.

Councillors also heard that, since the collections were withdrawn on March 31 last year, just 3,500 composting bins had been issued – less that 10 per cent of the 38,000 households who enjoyed the service.

“There is no doubt the public is still unhappy about it,” said Jenni Craig, SBC’s director of neighbourhood services, adding: “Hopefully lessons have been learned for this growing season.”

She was commenting on claims that staff at community recycling centres (CRCs) have been verbally abused by angry householders unable to deposit their garden waste. “The depth of feeling and the lack of capacity at our CRCs meant some of our frontline staff did, indeed, go through a tough time,” said Ms Craig. “Garden waste skips were filled more frequently and consequently the sites were required to close while skips were being emptied leading to queuing and frustration.”

She said additional skips had now been installed at all CRCs. Skip uplift and emptying arrangements had also been altered. SBC has earmarked £300,000 to upgrade the recycling centre in Hawick, although Mr McAteer was unable to get a commitment on when this work would be completed.