On July 22nd 2020, the Cabinet of Folkestone & Hythe District Council met to discuss and award the new waste contract. Agenda Item 28 and 29 (The Waste Project 2021 – Contract Award) happened behind closed doors. The Cllrs who voted 9 For – 0 against – 0 abstentions, were:
This is the genesis moment, just like Mark Anderson giving Studio E the unlawful contract for Grenfell Tower was the genesis moment; which set in motion the chain of events which led to the fatal and deadly fire.
The decision taken on July 22nd 2020, was the moment which unleashed the particular set of circumstances which has led to the £40 million pound Waste Contract Fiasco; and thousands of residents not having their kerbside waste collected. Everything comes back to this decision – to this moment – taken on the 22nd July 2020. This simple decision has led to all 30 wards of the district experiencing non collection of their kerbside waste.
We know on the 10th June Cllr Stuart Peall Cabinet Member responsible for Waste Contract gave Veolia a two week ultimatum to sort the mess out or else. Well two weeks came and went and Peall did bugger all, except sit in meetings talking, talking talking (The contract, it would appear, has NO Plan B). Actions speak louder than words.
We know Cllr Peall tried desperately to lay the blame solely at Veolia’s door, on the 21st July 2021 in his response to Cllr Jim Martin’s question at full Council.
The nine documents below, which are part of the Task & Finish Group second meeting to be held on Monday 26 July – behind closed doors – set out the Council’s version of events of how the kerbside waste of many households in the district has not been collected.
Just taking one of these documents – the Customer contact stats – we can see, between April & June 2020/21, three thousand six hundred and sixty eight (3,668) persons contacted the Council, by phone, about kerbside waste not being collected. Between April and June of the financial year, 2021/22, ten thousand seven hundred and eight five residents (10,785) telephoned the Council about their kerbside waste not being collected. This is a rise of 194% of residents contacting the Council about kerbside waste not being collected.
The number of emails sent by residents about kerbside waste not being collected for the same period as above rose by 228%.
And the number of web chats about kerbside waste not being collected rose by 47%.
The Year on year comparison of reported waste complaints April – June 2020 & Apr – June 2021 rose by 710%.
All of these complaints result from the decision taken by the nine Cabinet Members back on July 22 2020; who between them received allowances of £165,096, which is 52.1% of the total allowances paid to all the thirty councillors of Folkestone & Hythe District Council in 2020/21.
These nine Cllrs have suffered from amnesia about their collective decision a year ago. Meanwhile many residents are still suffering from failed kerbside collections more that two months after the changes to waste collection were introduced.
The responsibility for this fiasco, and it is just that, lies at both Veolia’s and the Councils doors, there is no escaping that. Only if it goes legal will we perhaps discover the truth, but we’re sure the Council will do all it can to avoid this. As we know the council is not big on transperency, that’s why the decision was taken by closed doors.
Of course, we could say more, much much more, and no doubt we will, but for now we’ll leave you to ponder on the fine careers and collective amnesia of the five Conservatives, two independent, one Shepway Green Party and one Liberal Democrat Cllrs who set off the chain of events which has led to this appalling fiasco; which has affected so many residents of the Folkestone & Hythe District.
The Shepway Vox Team
Generally speaking, the best people nowadays go into journalism, the second best into business, the rubbish into politics and the shits into law.