Today we want to talk rubbish, or more to the point about rubbish bins and the impact of Shepway District Council’s (SDC) decision to charge you, the residents, for damage caused to your bins caused by their appointed refuse provider, Veolia.
To give you some background, Veolia was awarded a £70 million pound contract by Dover District Council working in partnership with Shepway District Council and Kent County Council in 2010. The Veolia contract provides collection of refuse and waste across the Council’s of Dover, Shepway, Thanet and Canterbury. The contract commenced in January 2011. Cllr Stuart Peall (pictured) SDC’s Cabinet Member for the Environment has began the process of seeking candidates for a new contract to begin in 2021.
Many of you have written to us about this issue and at last month’s full council, on the 28th Feb, a member of the public, Mr Southgate and Cllr Mary Lawes both raised the question saving our public face the need to do so.
Mr Southgate’s question was:
Picking up the phone to complain about damage to your bin may seem like a trivial matter. Without doubt, many residents are put off from complaining – after all, the bin probably still functions and its utilitarian purpose has not been compromised. The very fact that 744 of you have complained, leading SDC to record the bins as “damaged on the collection day” reveals that the issue is more likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Cllr Peall (pictured) makes it clear in his response that: “… the long standing council policy on fees and charges is the principle that the ‘users pay’ and this has generally applied to the purchase of new refuse bins and containers.”
Cllr Mary Lawes (Ind) (pictured) question to Cllr Stuar Peal Cabinet Member for the Environment was – see Questions 2 and response
SDC maintain that, irrespective of who damages the bin, you the user are responsible. Cllr Peall states that: “the vast majority of the 744 bins and containers reported as lost or damaged in this period were in fact replaced free of charge to residents.” He did not, however, quantify this in numeric terms. Furthermore, one might question how the “vast majority” managed to achieve this when the Council’s complaint department has been playing with a straight bat and informing all complainants that the cost of replacement or repair falls squarely with them.
Is Cllr Peall talking a load of rubbish? Is it right that council tax paying Shepway residents have to pay twice for their refuse – for the provider, Veolia to collect it AND for the cost of their damage? Cllr Peall states that a lot of the damage is due to an “ageing bin stock… However, there is also in place a process where any bins where are alleged or can be shown have been directly damaged due to the negligence of the contractor are referred to them. In 2017, Veolia actioned the direct replacement of 127 bins and containers.” Cllr Peall completes his answer by offering an olive branch to the disgruntled complainant: “Like all fees and charges, the bin replacement protocol is regularly reviewed and as portfolio holder I am happy to hear the views of Members on this issue.”
We hope by members, Cllr Peall and SDC means that he will also consider the views, opinions and voices of you, the Shepway residents, on a par with Council members, or has he forgotten the Shepway electorate exist?
If you have an issue with your rubbish bin/s and the complaints line at SDC does NOT handle your issue satisfactorily – giving you a rubbish response – we urge you to contact Cllr Stuart Peall directly and ask for his divine intervention. How could he refuse?! His email address is
The Shepwayvox Team