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Agenda item

Strategic theme: motions


The motion was moved by Councillor Holden and seconded by Councillor Gretton.


The Labour amendment as set out in agenda item 22 was moved by Councillor Byers and seconded by Councillor Irons.


Councillor Fairclough spoke on the item.


The Labour amendment was put to a vote and was carried – votes in favour: 34, votes against: 23, abstentions: 0.


The substantive motion (as amended) was then put to a vote and was carried – votes in favour: 34, votes against: 23, abstentions: 0.




This council recognises that there have been recent successes in enforcement, particularly the court injunction that has prevented Travellers from occupying council land in the borough.


However, this council recognises that Merton Council has failed to publicise the enforcement of the refuse collection and street cleaning contract with Veolia since April 2017.


Commenting on this issue Stephen Hammond MP said: “On a nearly daily basis I am contacted by constituents regarding Veolia’s performance. These complaints touch on all elements of the council and Veolia’s duty to deal with waste, and cover street litter, overflowing public bins, fly tipping, uncollected private bins and litter covering the streets after bin collection. Merton Council should be scrutinised for the poor procurement of this contract and the full costs of it be made transparent. The council has a history of poor contract management, this must improve, and a clear plan for such should be subject to scrutiny.”


Siobhan McDonagh MP recently stated to the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel: “There has been a significant problem with refuse collection and street sweeping services in Mitcham. There are large numbers of sites which are fly tipped on a regular basis and there appears to be little management of the street sweeping service. The need for a reconsideration of the street sweeping element of the waste contract is clear. It is my understanding that streets are only swept if they are below a certain standard. It is completely unclear, however, what this standard is and how this standard is determined.”


Council notes that in procuring the contract with Veolia there were three broad objectives:


·         to save money, helping to mitigate the significant reduction in funding the Council has received from central Government since 2010;

·         to increase rates of recycling; and

·         to improve street cleanliness.


Council notes that the contract has performed relatively well against the first two objectives; savings in excess of £1m a year are being realised, which can help reduce cuts to services, and the borough’s recycling rate has jumped from 37% to 45% since October 2018. However, council recognises that against the third performance has been disappointing, and although large parts of the borough receive a good service, there are some significant parts being let down by the level of service currently received, particularly on street cleansing in the east.


This council therefore:


·         Recognises the comments made by the boroughs two MPs condemning the failure of Veolia to clean the streets, collect the refuse and clear up fly tips;

·         Recognises the comments made by the Cabinet Member at the recent Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel where he acknowledged that the poor performance in parts of the borough was not acceptable;

·         Recognises that Veolia has committed to the publication of an Improvement Plan to address some of these issues in recognition that its level of service is not good enough;

·         Recognises that in some areas Veolia’s performance has not improved, whilst in others it has (notably the number of missed collections and removal of fly tips);

·         Notes that additional financial resources are being used to collect waste in recognition of the fact that in some parts of the borough the levels of participation in food waste and recycling is lower than in others, and asks the Cabinet Member to continue working with officers on a programme of education to help facilitate the desired behaviour change;

·         Thanks members of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel for ensuring that both the Council and Veolia were properly scrutinised during a very extensive discussion at its September meeting;

·         Requests that the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel continues to scrutinise performance on a regular basis

·         Requests that the Cabinet member engages with all councillors on any suggestions for rapid improvements in the areas of the borough where Veolia is not currently meeting the contractual standard on street cleaning, fly tipping and refuse collection; and

·         Requests the Cabinet Member to continue working with Officers to focus on educating residents to deal with their waste responsibly and enforce against those who do not, noting the recent publication of the draft Fly Tipping Strategy.

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