Council blames government changes to net zero for delay to glass collection initiative


A Bedford Borough Council explanation of glass recycling delays was a “nice try”, but the mayor knew about the issues before the election, a councillor has claimed.

Paul Pace, chief officer for environment, told last week’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Thursday, 28 September) that he wanted to “reflect” on the Prime Minister’s recent speech on his new approach to net zero.

“[The speech] did rule out the seven bins to every resident,” he said.

“So you can just imagine seven bins outside every terrace house – it would have been a little bit of a disaster.

“Defra [Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs] and the government had been looking to change recycling across the UK to make sure that everybody across the UK had the right, and the opportunity, to recycle a similar amount of recycling products from the curbside.

“This is a key direction that every local authority is waiting for before we can start enhancing and investing in new collection streams.

“[We are] ready to come out the starting blocks, but until we get this real guidance from Defra we’re in this position , as with every other local authority, of having to basically hold back,” he said.

Councillor Charles Royden (Lib Dem, Brickhill) said: “It’s a nice try Paul, it’s a nice try, but the mayor knew that we were having to wait for Defra and he made a promise to the people of Bedford that he was going to collect glass from their homes.

“He said he’d collect glass, we’ve been told we were going to have a trial,” he said.

“Now we’re putting it off until next year and there’s going to be a review, there’s going to be a consultation with residents of Bedford.

“Our mayor made a promise, it’s an election promise, it’s in his manifesto and he should keep his promises or tell us he’s changed his mind again,” he said.

Mr Pace replied that there is going to be a trial, and it’s not “something the council can do overnight”.

“This is clearly something we want to do as a council and a lot of this is being held up, as you rightly say, by the government.

“But it’s definitely something that we are working on as a team to deliver,” he said.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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