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New Forest District Council rejects Lymington Society plea for new consultation on wheelie bin plans

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NEW Forest District Council has rejected calls by a local civic group to consult the public again over the roll-out of wheelie bins amid a claim it was “rushing” through the plans.

The Lymington Society said residents should have more say on the details of the controversial scheme, which is set for a final vote by the full council in July before implementation from 2024.

Although there was a consultation late last year, society chair Donald Mackenzie has demanded a more detailed explanation of how the system would work, with the chance for residents to comment.

The full council will vote on the scheme in July before planned implementation by 2024
The full council will vote on the scheme in July before planned implementation by 2024

In a letter to NFDC leader Cllr Edward Heron, he raised concerns of “wheelie bin blight”, especially in historic town centres such as Lymington.

NFDC defended its consultation, saying the process in November and December last year had provided “robust data”.

It has promoted replacing the current sack system as a way of boosting the area’s poor recycling rates and complying with new legislation. But critics fear they will spoil neighbourhoods by cluttering streets.

As reported in the A&T, the planned change would involve alternate fortnightly wheelie bin collections for recycling and general waste, plus a weekly food waste pick-up.

It comes after the authority was placed 174th out of 215 local authorities for recycling.

Dr Donald Mackenzie from the Lymington Society
Dr Donald Mackenzie from the Lymington Society

About 90% of homes are forecast to switch to wheelie bins, with promises that some properties could keep the sack system, if the bins proved impractical.

The Lymington Society letter to Cllr Edward Heron acknowledged that “it’s important to embrace new methods that allow a more economic system and better levels of recycling”.

But it went on: “We hope that the council will now decide to put their detailed proposals out to proper consultation and not be seen to be unreasonably rushing these proposals through.”

In a statement, NFDC said its plans had been in development for several years, including a near-six-week local consultation last year on the draft strategy whose “fundamental principles” had not changed.

Cllr Edward Heron
Cllr Edward Heron

It said: “Our engagement approach was to provide as much background information as possible, updating detailed information online, and using offline signposting methods such as printed media. Hard copies of all documents were available on request.

“The level of response to the survey and additional emails and letters received has provided robust data.

“Our new waste strategy has been developed in response to the research and engagement work up to this point. For this reason, we are not looking to carry out further formal resident consultation before the new waste strategy goes to council.”

The plan will be debated by NFDC’s environment and sustainability overview and scrutiny panel on 16th June, before going to the ruling Conservative cabinet on 6th July and final approval by the full council on 11th July.

The new waste strategy will be published on 8th June at www.newforest.gov.uk/wastestrategy. Residents can send questions to wastestrategy@nfdc.gov.uk

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