CONSULTATION by New Forest District Council over a waste strategy proposing to bring in wheelie bins and fortnightly collections has been labelled “the worst survey ever”.
Cllr David Harrison, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, attacked the Tory-controlled authority over its approach.
Writing online, he said: “If you want to see a good example of how not to conduct a survey, try this one. It is one of the most basic principles of designing surveys is that you don’t ask leading questions which assume what people think.
“This is basically a really clumsy attempt to impose wheelie bins and persuade people that this is what they want.” He titled the blog post: “Worst survey ever.”
As reported by the A&T, the conslutation was launched a week ago, asking residents for their views on recycling.
The first question is qualified by a statement that the government plans to make it a legal requirement that authorities such as NFDC provide separate weekly food waste collection services.
If NFDC recycles food waste its recycling rate will improve 10% to 44%, it adds, “which is good for the environment” as it helps tackle climate change.
The question about wheelie bins explains non-recyclable waste would be collected on an alternative week to recycling, but adds the current plastic sacks for general waste and recycling are “not good for the environment”.
It goes on: “We could provide wheeled bins for all households instead. For a small number of properties, access and storage could be a potential issue. We would consider a different method of containment or collection for these properties.
“We would continue to provide assisted collections for residents who are unable to present their waste at the kerbside.”
Defending consultation over the draft strategy, an NFDC spokesperson admitted it “makes it clear” that changes to waste recycling are “needed”.
She said: “The Draft Waste Strategy is not about yes or no to wheeled bins – it is about how we all, the council, our partners, residents, and businesses can improve recycling and meet our responsibilities for the future.
“We want residents to think about how the new system might affect them, whether in a positive or negative way, by reading the full or summary strategy, and tell us.
“We can then understand the scale of any issues that are raised, incorporate that in our final waste strategy, and use the information to help implement a future waste service, whatever that service may end up looking like.”
She said it was developed based on what NFDC knew about its existing waste services, which the council has admitted does not generate high enough recycling rates.
It also takes into account government environmental plans and reducing the carbon impact of waste in the New Forest.
She added: “The survey questions were then designed to summarise the findings of the work carried out to date, based on available facts and data, before asking for resident feedback.
“There are opportunities within the survey to add additional comments, and all these comments will be reviewed.
Visit www.newforest.gov.uk/wastestrategy before the consultation deadline of 10th