Chairman's Blog - Dec 2016


By the time you read this, we expect that the Council will have committed the expenditure of 7 million pounds of your money for the purchase of wheelie bins. This is to further the introduction of a new system of waste collection sometime in 2018. 

This is being introduced presumably to save money, but they have produced no evidence to show any cost savings. 

They have conducted no survey to show that this is wanted by the majority of residents, and most people who have contacted us are very opposed to the proposed changes. This is because they think that the present system works well, and they support the continuation of a weekly collection service both for waste that goes to landfill and waste that can be recycled. 

The Council is only proposing to collect general household rubbish from the wheelie bins every fortnight, and not every week. A second wheelie bin will be used to collect paper, newspapers and cardboard on the same fortnightly cycle. Very confusingly, glass bottles, tins and plastic will be put in a green or purple box and collected on the alternative week.  This is a recipe for disaster, and will result in even less rubbish being recycled, and more going to landfill. 

The Council points to what they call “the successful 2015 wheelie bin project in Lavender Fields ward which saw an increase in resident satisfaction with 89% residents saying they were satisfied with the introduction of wheelie bins”.  However, we understand that these residents were not told that the wheelie bin waste would, under their proposals, only be collected on a fortnightly basis, and not weekly. We are not told either of the mix of houses surveyed, and whether any of the residents suffered from disabilities of any kind. 

Wheelie bins are large and unsightly, and will need to be stored somewhere. If they are emptied only every other week, they will rapidly be filled up, and spill over, spraying rubbish over the streets.  People in terraced homes will have to take them through the house to get them to a point of collection. People who are infirm will not be able to manage them. They will have to be emptied one by one into the dustcart, which will take further time to process.  

They say that “Prior to rolling out any agreed wheeled bin scheme, the council will “…address any concerns with the implementation of a wheeled bin collection service”. Many residents have already pointed out that they will not be able to manage to get a wheelie bin to the front of their property.  We doubt very much that the new operators will have the time, or be paid the resources, to help householders on an individual basis to collect the bins from inside their home or from the back or side of it.  

One local resident wrote a hand written leader to the Council leader asking him specifically how he and his wife were going to cope, given that he has heart problems, and his wife has dementia. He received a standard letter from Councillor Alambritis which did not answer either question. Insultingly, it started by thanking him for his email, which indicates that he did not himself see the letter. 

This is simply not good enough. One of the main duties of a Council is to collect waste. A system that operates well enough should not be changed without strong evidence that its replacement will be better, and not in this cavalier manner. 


Councils have been given permission by the government to increase council tax by 2 per cent to fund extra social care, which is much needed to cope with the increasing numbers of elderly and disabled people. Merton Council has not increased its council tax for some years, but the Council is conducting a survey of residents to see whether people wish to see no increase in tax, or 2%, which would raise an additional £1.5 million, or 3.99%, which would raise an additional £3 million. The intention is that any extra money raised would be ring fenced for social care use only.   

Very unfortunately, the consultation was conducted through the pages of the autumn edition of My Merton, and this publication failed to get delivered at all to many residents in our area. The Councillors have written to the Chief Executive to ask how this came about.  

Social care provision is a very important matter: if you wish to express a view, please write to the Chief Executive of Merton Council with your views. The official consultation promises that your views will be kept anonymous and data protected. 


The last edition of the Guide contained our response to the proposals of the Boundary Commission in regard to the local Parliamentary constituencies. Our MP, Stephen Hammond, informs us that all responses will be published next spring, followed by a secondary consultation. New proposals will not be published until the end of 2017, and there will then be an 8 week consultation. 


Once again the clocks have gone back, so that we are now in darkness by 4 pm.  I have said before that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has found that more accidents happen in the dark evenings than happen in dark mornings. They want the system changed, but when will Parliament do this?  The argument is always that the present system suits the needs of Scotland, but they now have a separate parliament, and do not need to be on the same time as the rest of us. 

John Elvidge





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