NEARLY 3,800 residents and organisations responded to New Forest District Council’s controversial waste proposals which could see wheelie bins introduced.
Cllr Alison Hoare, cabinet member for the environment, said the authority “pleased” at the response, and all would now be analysed by an independent research company.
It will report back to the Conservative-controlled council’s cabinet in the coming months before members consider potential options. Initial suggestions included alternate fortnightly collections of general rubbish and recycling.
Cllr Hoare said: “We’ve been pleased to see so much useful discussion in our public engagement around our draft waste strategy which looks at the changes we can make to reduce waste and increase recycling in the district.
“Thank you to everyone who has given us their views. The feedback you’ve given will help us shape a waste strategy that works for the local area and our environment.”
She revealed more than 200 comments were submitted from the paper engagement packs, by letter, email and from local partner organisations.
The consultation happened after the cabinet recommended in November that the draft strategy be worked on in more detail to see how a new waste service could operate.
But the survey was criticised by Liberal Democrat opposition members, who claimed it asked leading questions and the number of responses was low compared to the district’s population.
In response Cllr Hoare defended the process and insisted wheelie bins were not a “done deal”. She argued the council needed to make changes to the current sack collection system to improve recycling rates which are among the lowest in the country.
About 90% of homes are forecast to get a wheelie bin, if introduced, but critics say they are ugly additions to the street, cumbersome for older residents to handle and unsuitable for rural areas.
Any changes to the waste and recycling service would not be implemented until 2022 at the earliest.