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Bexley's new bins delayed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 July 2019

The council is due to rollout 160,000 new wheelie bins. Picture: Lindsay Jones

The council is due to rollout 160,000 new wheelie bins. Picture: Lindsay Jones

Archant

The roll-out of 160,000 new wheelie bins in Bexley has been delayed, councillors have been told.

An issue with the tendering process for the borough's new rubbish bins means that delivery will start roughly six weeks later than anticipated.

The council is purchasing 160,000 new wheeled bins following the agreement to change how rubbish is collected in the borough earlier this year.

Recycling will be taken fortnightly as the council tries to get its recycling rates up and save money.

Households will also have two new wheelie bins - one for paper and cardboard and one for mixed recycling.

Originally, the plan was to start the 14-week delivery programme in July, however this has been pushed back to September - meaning some of the last deliveries will not be made until December.

Bexley's deputy director of public protection and housing, David Bryce-Smith, told a scrutiny panel on June 26: "The tendering exercise is for about 160,000 wheelie bins. The tender exercise was undertaken but some minor technical errors arose during that procurement process - they were minor, but accumulatively that led the council to a potential future challenge if it was awarded.

"We have started a new procurement exercise having corrected all those errors - it will lead to a delay in the potential in the rollout of the wheelie bin, expected to start from the second week in September."

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Cabinet member Peter Craske added: "The team have done an incredible job on a big project and I want to thank them and the households who got involved. This is a big project that, other than the delay, we have got through the procurement process, we are getting on with."

Scrutiny councillors said they were disappointed with the delay, and were critical of "loaded language" used by officers when discussing the impact a no deal Brexit could have on the new bins.

If Britain leaves with a "no-deal" scenario there would be repercussions for businesses, tariffs and borders, according to critics.

According to the report: "The potential of a hard Brexit with no transition period has reduced in recent weeks. If a hard Brexit was to occur there are two risks a 6.5 per cent tariff on the anticipated cost of £3.5 million and potential delays in delivery."

Councillor Gareth Bacon, who sits as the leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Assembly, as well as being a Longlands representative, said: "I know these things are logistical nightmares. I understand things can go bump, so I am not concerned about the slippage.

"This report is a public document, tabled for a public meeting, therefore the language and precision is very important and I think it is lacking in a number of areas.

"The sentence on a hard Brexit - I don't know which officer made that massively politically loaded judgement, but it has no place in this report.

"Hard and soft Brexit are terms coined by Remainers deceitfully to campaign against the referendum - apolitical officers should not be taking that loose language."

Labour councillor Stefano Borella added: "I was startled by that statement on Brexit.

"I am disappointed to hear there is a delay and just to caution we had the garden waste scheme rollout that was not littered with success, I hope we don't go down the route of that rollout.

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