Following the Conservative Group’s ‘Referral’ to full Council earlier this month, of the Environment & Communities Committee decision to implement Green Waste Charges, Cheshire East Council has refused to validate the request.
Reasons given are that under the Council’s Constitution; “…the original decision to charge for green waste… was made at full council on 22 February 2023. That decision cannot be subject to referral and is binding on the [Environment & Communities] committee”. “There can be no challenge to the full council decision”.
Cllr Tony Dean (Knutsford) stated that the Referral;
“… was based on the fact that ‘viable alternatives were not considered’. Indeed, they were not presented to the committee at all. The green bin charge was presented as a ‘fait accompli’ having been decided by a small group who put together the draft MTFS earlier in 2023.”
At no time was the Environment & Communities Committee invited to contribute or help develop this policy prior to the draft MTFS being presented “for noting only” at the January 2023 meeting.”
“A meeting was called on 15th August to try and settle these issues following the split decision of the committee in July to apply a charge, (the highest in the North-West) for collecting and composting green bin waste for CE residents.”
“Signatories of the referral spoke at length in support of the decision being reviewed at Full Council in October following further exploration of viable alternatives. Officers gave a presentation explaining the financial calculations leading to the Budget proposals and answered questions”. Cllrs Corcoran and Browne (CEC Leader & Dep. Leader) spoke in favour of the decision to charge residents £56 per year, per bin.”
Cllrs Gardiner, Holland, Parkinson, Bailey and Redstone, challenged CEC assumptions regarding fly-tipping, food waste disposal, likely take-up rates, higher tonnages into black bins, impacts on the Green Waste Hub at Leighton Grange and on the Council’s own ecological and carbon neutrality strategy objectives.
Cllr Janet Clowes (Conservative Leader) commented;
“The Council’s refusal to re-visit this decision is based on February’s MTFS Budget decisions suggesting that such decisions are ‘set in stone’. Yet we know that decisions made at the same Council meeting about library opening hours, have already been re-worked and local authorities (like any other business), must constantly re-model their fiscal planning to meet changing circumstances and priorities”.
“The debate and fiscal data provided at last week’s meeting was valuable, but it should have been available to both the Environment & Communities Committee members and other interested Councillors before the Budget Consultation in January, when members would have been able to proactively inform policy.”
“We welcome the officers’ report stating that “…engagement with members on budget matters has been revised and is already being undertaken” but that is too little, too late when discussing a green waste charge that will impact on this borough’s environmental aspirations and on residents’ pockets for years to come.”
Read the story of the Leighton Grange Wastewise Contract as established by the Conservative Administration in late 2018.
Environment & Communities Committee Meetings:
January 2023 (MTFS Recommendations for ‘noting’ only): https://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieListDocuments.aspx?CI… July2023: https://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx…
Full Council (MTFS / Budget)
February 22nd, 2023 (Item 71):