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Inspectors have praised Calderdale MBC's work to clean up local streets and improve service at local tips. But the ...
Inspectors have praised Calderdale MBC's work to clean up local streets and improve service at local tips. But the council needs to encourage local people to throw away less rubbish, according to a report published today by the Audit Commission.

A team of inspectors awarded the council's waste management service one star out of a possible three and rated it fair with promising prospects for improvement.

The report says the council is working hard to stop people dropping letter and letting their dogs foul the pavement. Street sweeping has been reorganised to cut litter levels and there are better facilities and opening hours at sites dealing with household waste.

However, the amount of waste collected from homes in Calderdale is high and continues to grow faster than the regional and national average.

Diane Neale, relationship manager, said: 'Recently Calderdale has been working hard to clean up the street in the area. The council is cracking down on people who drop litter. Levels of recycling and composting in Calderdale have improved too reducing the amount of waste being sent for landfill. But the council must do more to encourage local people to produce less waste.'

Inspectors found some strengths:

* The council is on track to achieve government targets for recycling and has set itself a more challenging target

* Local people are satisfied with the current method of refuse collection via black sacks collected at the back door

* The council has in place and supports a number of education and waste prevention activities to help achieve waste minimisation targets

However, there are significant areas of weakness:

* The council has no clear plan in place to deal with rising levels of household waste

* There are no published performance standards and customers have no real opportunity to provide feedback on the service or be involved in how the service should develop in the future

* There are no systems to find out what people think of the service and so the council has no idea if its efforts and extra money are actually improving things for local people

To help the service improve, the inspectors made a number of recommendations including:

* Work closely with local people and other organisations to develop a plan to deal with rising levels of household waste

* Ensure local people are kept informed about what the service is trying to achieve and how they can contribute. Use feedback from customers to make improvements

* Develop and publish a detailed set of service standards for waste management so local people know what quality and levels of service they can expect to receive

The waste management service covers:

* waste minimisation

* street cleaning

* recycling

* waste collection

* waste disposal

The service will cost around £8.7m for 2003/04 - 11 per cent more than in 2002/2003. It employs 57 staff directly, and has contracts with a number of organisations such as Focsa and Onyx to deliver services including waste disposal, refuse collection and recycling.

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