Agenda item

Interview with Worthing Cabinet Member for the Environment

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 13


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 13, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes. 


A Member asked “Can you give us an update on when you will be implementing the weekly food waste collections that you committed to last year please?”


Response - 


The Council were keen to prevent food waste in the first instance, but where it did arise offer a separate collection service.  Under the provisions of the Environment Act all local authorities would be required to collect food separately.  Separate food waste collections would be very costly for the council as the collection authority, requiring investment in additional vehicles, collection containers whilst also increasing revenue costs in terms of staff and fuel. 


They had anticipated that DEFRA would have announced the details of new burdens funding, and support with capital funding for the provisions of the Environment Bill, which included food waste collection the previous year.  Unfortunately announcements from central government on this subject had been repeatedly delayed.  It was still unclear when further announcements would be made by central government.  


In the meantime the council had undertaken a modelling exercise, funded by WRAP, to assess different options for food waste collections in Worthing, the likely impact on recycling and composting rates, and revenue and capital costs.  


In the meantime officers were scoping a small scale trial for food waste collection by the end of March.  Subject to being able to secure the required resources the Cabinet Member was hopeful that they could start the trial later in the year.


A Member asked “Members of staff in the waste and cleansing teams report that they have been informed that they will be subject to random drug testing by the council in future. If this is true, can you please explain which members of staff will be subject to the testing, what the rationale is and what the perceived problem is that you are attempting to remedy.”


Response - 


The aim of the Alcohol and Drugs policy was to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of employees and the public and to help anyone who may have problems with drug or alcohol abuse. This policy explained the Councils’ position on alcohol and drug misuse and provided a procedure whereby employees who had a problem of drug or alcohol abuse/misuse can seek and be offered help in confidence.


Members of the team subject to random drug and alcohol testing include the whole management team and all frontline staff.


Members also asked about engagement with members of the public not associated with any groups or organisations, an update on the figures of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and how coastal services will be effected by a reduction in budget.


Members were told that the council was exploring every avenue to promote communication with the public, including schools and scouting groups. That WEEE was looking at an average collection of a tonne per week and that services should not be affected due to reorganisation and looking at new ways of working.


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