New Year, new pledge

4.79 million people in the UK are paid below the living wageEvery day, Steve and the team hear or read about the concerns of ordinary hard-working people in Weoley. From the bedroom tax, gas and electricity prices and wheelie bins to jobs, pensions and housing, Steve and the Weoley team are out in the community listening and responding to the difficulties caused by the Tory austerity agenda.

As campaigning got under way for the local elections in May this year, the Tories announce yet more welfare cuts, and the middle class face a ‘crisis of confidence’ over living standards, Ed Miliband has promised to freeze energy prices, address the prospects of young people in Britain and make work pay. Not only are ordinary people feeling let down by the Tories, but the foundations of British life have all been ‘undermined’, the Labour leader said.

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve Booton, commenting on the outlook for Weoley, said: “We regularly go out to meet the people of Weoley. We visit their homes and we hold our stall on Saturday outside the Co-op on the Square.

“Last week, most of the residents we met in Lockwood Road and on the stall were concerned about the high cost of living, the unfair central government attacks on our city’s budget and the rip-off energy prices.

“We had lots of signatures added to our petition in support of Ed Miliband’s policy of freezing energy prices for two years.”

Come and see Steve and the Weoley Labour team

Steve and the team will be talking to voters throughout the ward over the coming months and they’re outside the Co-op on the Square most Saturdays between 12 and 1. Or you can contact us as follows:

  • call Steve on 07830 945754
  • come and sign our petition to freeze energy bills at our street stall on Saturday at 12 noon outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square
  • go to our Contact page to send an online message
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Save the date

Councillor James McKayWeoley Labour has invited Councillor James McKay to meet the people of Weoley to discuss the new wheelie bin project.

The consultation will take place on 23rd April. More information about venue and time will follow shortly.

In the meantime, why not have a look at our previous post that includes a video of Cllr McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, explaining what the scheme means for Birmingham?

Online survey opens on wheelie bins in Brum

An online survey for Birmingham residents has kicked off the six-month consultation on wheelie bins.

Wheelie bin survey

Paper-based copies of the document will also be made available in the near future at all 40 city council libraries and 21 customer service centres/neighbourhood offices.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said:

“We have been clear from the outset that we will listen to citizens as we shape the finer points of the scheme – and we have also been clear that this process is not about if we have wheelie bins, it’s about getting the best wheelie bin scheme for Birmingham.

“I urge people to get involved over the coming months because the more information we get, the better chance we have of making the city as clean and green as possible.”

Birmingham City Council has also promised a host of other measures in the coming weeks and months, including:

  • Consultation through the Citizens Panel
  • Consultation with specialist groups such as people with disabilities, the elderly, Registered Social Landlords, Housing Liaison Boards, and Conservation Areas
  • All 10 District Committees and the Ward Committees in the two pilot wards – Brandwood and Harborne
  • Pre and post-wheelie bin delivery face-to-face consultation with a sample of residents in the two pilot wards

The feedback gathered from all these channels will be used to shape the final scheme, which will see the current system of sacks and boxes eventually replaced by two wheeled bins for every household, with an optional third for green waste. There will be exemptions where wheelie bins are not appropriate.

To complete the online survey, go to www.opinionresearch.co.uk/birminghamwheeliebins.

What wheelies mean for Weoley

Birmingham City Council has won more than £29 million worth of funding that will allow the City to keep weekly bin collections and increase recycling.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) told Birmingham council officers that the city’s bid – based on introducing wheeled bins for Birmingham’s households – had excelled in all areas.

Birmingham Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “Birmingham put forward an ambitious set of proposals that will preserve weekly waste collections, make our streets cleaner and help increase recycling rates. Now the Government has rallied behind our plans.”

“We will maintain our weekly collection. Wheeled bins will not be used in a small number of cases where they are impractical and assisted collections will continue. We know the issue of weekly collection is hugely important to citizens and for many it is seen as one of the key services the council provides”

Cllr McKay promised public consultation over the details of the bid to make sure the best possible scheme is introduced for all citizens, including the special provisions for properties that are unsuitable for a wheeled bin collection service or for those residents who would find it difficult or impossible to move a wheeled bin.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, announced that over 6 million families will keep getting a weekly bin service thanks to the government’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme, ‘making sure council tax payers get good value for money’.

What the money will mean for Birmingham

Birmingham City Council answers your frequently asked questions about wheeled bins

Will the recent DCLG announcement of funding mean we will have wheeled bins in Birmingham?

Wheelie binYes.
This matter was debated by the City Council’s Cabinet on Monday 30th July 2012 and again on the 10th December 2012. The City Council have been awarded over £29 million by Central Government to introduce a wheeled bin collection service across Birmingham.

Will the Council look at the experience of Councils who have already introduced wheeled bins?

Wheeled bins are used in over 82% of all councils in England and there is a great deal of experience and knowledge about what works and what doesn’t – Birmingham will learn from this previous experience. This isn’t a unique project and all of the major cities in England already use wheeled bins.

What size bin will I receive?

It will be essential to ensure that households receive an appropriate sized container for their needs. It is recognised that some households, for example larger households, would need larger containers. The Council has not determined which size containers will be used but would look at what other local authorities do and determine how best to meet the needs of residents and the Council.

How many bins will I receive?

Up to 3 bins – one for waste, one for recycling and one for green waste (if required). We will be testing how the bins will be used in selected areas of the city. Adjustments may need to be made for individual property types and roads.

I don’t think my property is suitable for a wheeled bin.

We appreciate that not all properties are suitable for a wheeled bin collection service. Following the models from other councils, these include some properties that:

  • have a steep slope/many steps between the house and the street where it would be difficult to move a wheeled bin up or down
  • have no access or very limited access to the rear of the property, such as in some types of terraced housing
  • have no ground floor access, such as flats above shops and some maisonettes

In these circumstances, other councils make alternative arrangements such as retaining the collection system that was previously used.

What about elderly or disabled residents how will they manage?

We recognise that some residents would find it difficult or impossible to move a wheeled bin, such as a wheelchair user, and we will make alternative arrangements either through the provision of an ‘assisted’ service or again through providing a different type of collection service that meets the household’s needs.

Why are we changing black sacks if it already works well?

Whilst we appreciate your view that the current black sack system works perfectly well, independent research has shown that where a wheeled bin system has been introduced, recycling rates have increased.
Birmingham needs to reduce the amount of waste that we produce and to reuse and recycle more. Furthermore, the current system causes litter due to bags being ripped open by rodents, other animals and birds, with the contents strewn about the street.

When will the bins be introduced?

The bid to the DCLG outlined a 2 to 3 year timetable for the full procurement and roll-out of the bins. We intend to implement a pilot in spring 2013 in two wards looking at different options. The wards to be selected will be determined shortly.

Will my collection day change?

It is possible when wheeled bins are rolled out that collection days may change. However, it is not possible at this stage to give an indication of what those changes could be. All changes to days would be kept to a minimum.

Will wheeled bins result in redundancies?

No. It is anticipated the introduction will not cause job losses.

Who is responsible for keeping the bins clean?

The experience of other local authorities who have implemented this type of collection methodology is that residents place bagged waste into the wheeled bins and therefore there is minimal ongoing need to clean. If cleaning is required then it is the resident’s responsibility to undertake this.

Why are you not proposing to take food waste separately?

The Council is currently considering the feasibility of a separate food waste collection. In the future it may also be possible to co-collect food waste with garden waste and the three bins proposed would support this method of collection.
This is not part of the funding received as part of the DCLG bid. A separate consultation with residents would be undertaken if this option was considered further.

[This set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) has been reproduced from the Birmingham City council website.]

The council will soon be consulting Birmingham residents about the wheelie bin collection service. If you have any questions about the proposals, please email wheeledbins@birmingham.gov.uk. Or you can contact Steve and he’ll find out for you.