Bins Can Only Get Better

Report sees prospect of improvement in Ealing's Refuse Collection

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Ealing Council's waste management service has received a 'fair' assessment from the Audit Commission in a report published today. The commission concluded that the service has promising prospects for improvement.

Refuse collection, street cleansing and recycling services in the borough were all scrutinised by inspectors, and several aspects were singled out for praise, including:

' The service's clear and challenging aims and priorities
' The anti-graffiti unit's good cross-agency working
' Top twenty-five percent performance for recycling and composting household waste
' Low level of refuse complaints
' Effective targeting by the dumped rubbish investigation units
' Generally clean streets in town centres

Aspects that the report identified as holding back the service include:

' Long waits to get through to the contact centre
' High amount of waste collected per person
' Little corporate commitment to reducing, re-using and recycling the council's own waste
' Lack of a waste communications strategy
' Lack of integration between services

Unlike neighbouring Hounslow Borough, Ealing does not make use of local web sites to inform residents of revised refuse collection days or missed collections.

"I'm delighted at the Audit Commission's praise for the progress and 'promising prospects' being delivered through cleaner streets and action against flytipping and graffiti,' said Councillor Philip Portwood, cabinet member for streets and the environment.

'This is a tribute to the work that council officers and contractors have done in using the extra investment agreed by Councillors last year. The auditors are right in particular to single out the good work of the anti-graffiti team and the action against flytipping of the Dumped Rubbish Investigation Units."

Councillors have promised to make sure that the issues for future action identified by the auditors are addressed in the new 'clean and green' integrated contract that will start next winter.

Zulfiqar Ali, Director of Environment Services at Ealing Council said, 'This report highlights many success stories within Ealing's waste management service, and I want to congratulate the officers who have worked so hard to make services like the anti-graffiti unit and recycling so effective. There is still plenty of room for improvement, however, and we have listened carefully to the inspectors for guidance on where to focus our energies."

But the report also acknowledges that the council's £50 million Response Programme will directly address some of the issues raise

March 24, 2004