Dundee’s controversial waste recycling restrictions are being scrapped after The Courier this week highlighted growing calls for the policy to be reversed.
Dundee City Council environment convener Craig Melville announced that deeply unpopular restrictions on waste recycling in the city were being dumped.
He insisted that the U-turn on thebanning of bulky garden waste at Baldovie and household waste at Riverside was not because of pressure from The Courier’scoverage of the issue all week.
He said: “It is a coincidence and not a reaction.” But he added: “It shows we are a listening council.”
Mr Melville made the surprise announcement in an interview at the end of a series of articles in our paper highlighting the problems caused by the cost-cutting measures.
The Marchbanks recycling centre was closed in March and the Riverside andBaldovie depots stopped receiving all types of domestic debris.
The cash-strapped council found the cost of ferrying away the materials tooexpensive but insisting that all largegarden waste had to be taken to Riverside and household waste to Baldovie forced people into making 15-mile round trips to get rid of their refuse.
There was loud public opposition to the inconvenience and the environmental impact, and Mr Melville said he had been aware of these concerns.
On Thursday, he revealed the policy had been under review for a month and had been under surveillance since it was made.
“The decisions were not made out of choice but were made out of necessity,” he said.“We have had £16 million of savings to make in two years and it has been extremely tough.
“At the start of the summer I asked the director of environment Ken Laing to bring forward different options on how we goforward.”
One of these was reinstating the original arrangements at Baldovie and Riverside and the SNP administration this week backed the convener’s call for this to be done.
It will cost £86,000 a year and the money will have to come from savings elsewhere.
There will now be an agenda note to the committee on Monday night andre-instating the original arrangements will take a couple of weeks to implement.
He continued: “We are a listeningcouncil and we have listened to the public, and we feel it is in the best interests of the people of Dundee that this is reversed.
“We had to make a number of difficult decisions and this one has not worked out the way we thought it would have.I don’t think there is any shame in that.”
West End Labour Councillor Richard McCready said: “I am glad that at long last the administration has seen sense.The people of Dundee knew the policy wasn’t working and this was highlighted by The Courier this week.
“The administration has now admitted that it’s not working and I welcome the change of heart.”
The area’s Liberal Democrat councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “I am glad that after many months of complaintscommon sense has prevailed, because this policy went down like a lead balloon.
“I think credit is due to The Courier for giving the issue such prominence.”
Ferry Conservative member Derek Scott said: “This is really good news and I am glad that they have responded to concerns, and not least from the highlighting of the issue in The Courier.”