More money for community clean-ups - but Labour criticises delay

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Calderdale Councillors have agreed to follow Hebden Royd Town Council's example and provide skips to community groups so that local people can organise clean up campaigns.

A group of councillors has been looking in detail at fly tipping issues across Calderdale and has come up with a number of suggestions to help tackle the problem. Among the suggestions is the provision of up to £20,000 during the current financial year to provide the skips for clean up campaigns.

The proposals were drawn up by the Council’s Fly-Tipping working party and suggestions for funding were made by the Health and Social Care Scrutiny panel. Last night (Monday, October 5) Members of Calderdale’s Cabinet agreed to make the £20,000 available.

Cabinet also agreed that other suggestions, including: employing new enforcement officers and extending opening hours at waste recycling sites in spring and summer should be referred to individual party groups for consideration in their future budget proposals to ensure they can be financed within existing Council Tax figures.

Councillor Amanda Byrne, portfolio holder for economy and environment, said: “Fly-tipping has a detrimental effect on the local area, economy and people’s quality of life.

“By providing this money, we will be responding to feedback from residents that they want to be take control and become involved in their community through things such as clean up campaigns,.

“Calderdale is a great place to live and work and we will do all we can to make sure that we support our communities to improve the quality of our environment.”

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Tim Swift, welcomed the Cabinet decision to agree funding for the community clean up proposal, but slammed Cabinet for unnecessary delays. He said:

"It is ironic that Cllr Byrne, the portfolio holder, is now trying to take the credit for agreeing to this small amount of money to support community clean up schemes.

"This funding could and should have been agreed more than two months ago, when Cllr Bob Metcalfe first took the report from scrutiny to the Cabinet. Instead, they decided to play politics and delay it. This means that community groups have missed the chance to carry out clean ups over the summer months.

"In addition, Cabinet still have to explain why it was necessary to find this money. There was a budget decision by Council some three years ago to make funds available for community cleanups, but it would appear that senior officers had decided to use this money for other spending.

"Perhaps instead of spending so much time putting out press releases, the Cabinet members should get a grip on what is happening in their departments.

"This is only one small part of the fly tipping proposals. If the Council is to prove that it is serious about dealing with this problem, then it needs to move to take action on the whole report."


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Above: light pollution is one of the themes in this children's environmental mystery by Andrew Bibby. More info