Cash row hits recycling change for thousands of Sheffield households

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed with then leader, Paul Scriven, when blue boxes were launched around Sheffield.
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed with then leader, Paul Scriven, when blue boxes were launched around Sheffield.
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CHANGES to recycling which allow residents to choose which of the blue bins and boxes to use have been put on hold for half of Sheffield because councillors and contractor Veolia have still not reached an agreement over the cost.

The choice will continue in areas where it has already been introduced, in the north, such as Chapeltown, Oughtibridge, Parson Cross and Stocksbridge, and in the south including Beighton, Handsworth, Heeley and Halfway.

But tens of thousands of households in the area between, stretching from Shiregreen and Shirecliffe through the city centre to Gleadless Valley and Totley, where the new arrangements were due to begin in September must now wait.

Sheffield Council said an agreement has not yet been made with Veolia over the final costs of the new arrangements - and no money has been allocated to implement the change in the remaining parts of the city.

The news was revealed at a meeting of Broomhill Forum, by Labour councillor Chris Rosling-Josephs.

Lib Dem opposition leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, a Broomhill councillor who was at the meeting, said: “Tens of thousands of households around the city were due to receive the change in September, now it isn’t happening.

“We agreed to give residents a choice after listening to their concerns that some people were finding it difficult to pick up the blue box with paper in it.

“There was enough money because we had allocated £300,000 from underspending in waste management - which Labour has pulled - and there was a further £1.5 million available due to extra profit from recycling which could have covered any extra cost.”

But Labour said the £300,000 only covered the cost of flexible recycling arrangements in the areas where they were already operating.

The ruling party said the funding had not been cut but taken from a different part of the waste management budget and that there was never any funding allocated for the second phase.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Unfortunately we’ve been left to clear up the mess left by the previous Lib Dem administration, whose waste policy was a complete disaster.

“The Lib Dems rushed through an eleventh hour change to the recycling service in a last-ditch bid for political support just before the election, however they didn’t make sufficient money available to fund the scheme.

“Therefore, unfortunately, there is currently no funding in the budget for the roll-out of the second phase of the new scheme.

“Because of the mess left by the Lib Dems we’ve asked a cross-party group of councillors to undertake a comprehensive review of the waste service.

“The second phase roll-out of the change to the recycling service is pending the outcome of that review.”

A date has not yet been set for the review, which will also consider the future of weekly bin collections across the city after the Government withdrew plans to pay councils to retain the service instead of switching to fortnightly rounds.