Discussion Forum
What now for Kerbside?

From Anne Handley
Monday, 1 December 2008

Now that we (the community=shareholders) have rejected the final deal from Sita, what next? I was at the meeting on Saturday, and a lot of people were saying "but what can we do to keep Kerbside going?". Well, a practical thing is to keep putting out the black boxes for collection, but is there a "Friends of Kerbside" group where we can put our heads together with the directors and come up with a sustainable future for Kerbside? And who do we write to, to try and get things changed?

From Myra Lesley
Thursday, 4 December 2008

I agree with Anne. There are a lot of people ready to take action to support Kerbside. Today, the Hebden Bridge Times tells us people wanting to help should phone 01422 881110 or email savekerbside@kerbside.org.uk

From Graham Barker
Thursday, 4 December 2008

Writing to Hazel Blears is a good idea. It will probably also help if as many of us as possible use Calderdale's complaints procedure. The online form to use is called 'Tell us how we're doing'.

Using CMBC's own complaints system may impress upon councillors and officers that the Kerbside issue isn't going to go away, and as the procedure requires a response it makes them put information on the record - something they won't be comfortable doing. (So expect lots of vagueness - and if you get it, demand clarification!)

The more diverse and specific we can make our complaints, the harder it will be for them to tailor a one-size-fits-all response. Perhaps we could all use this thread to pool the replies we get?

A more heavyweight option is to make a formal complaint about the behaviour of individual councillors. For such a complaint to be accepted, there must be a breach of the Code of Conduct. I've read it and on the face of it, at least one councillor may have been in breach of the code in the matter of the award of the Sita contract. Given the increasingly undemocratic behaviour of the CMBC cabinet, maybe this is a weapon that should be used more often.

From Richard Hull
Sunday, 7 December 2008

Excellent idea Graham. In particular people should ask, under Freedom of Information, to see the exact wording of the guidance given by the senior legal officer at CMBC, which is where, I believe, it was stated that EU competition laws forbade them including any preferential treatment to social enterprise bidders or existing social enterprise providers. I have never heard of EU competition law being used, successfully against legal challenge, in this way; and I strongly suspect that the EU commission itself would not want its laws interpreted in that way. But I ain't a lawyer.

From Jason Elliott
Monday, 8 December 2008

Here are two very quick things everyone can do in the time it takes to have a cup of tea...

Whilst stirring your tea, you could drop a quick note to Calderdale's Chief Executive, Owen Williams, at chiefexecutive@calderdale.gov.uk to politely tell him that you will be continuing with things as they are and have no wish to ever (as in "ever ever") switch to Sita.

Then, while you drink it, you could ping a swift email to Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, at blearsh@parliament.uk to politely ask her why this much loved and top performing community recycler was completely sidelined by Calderdale Council when awarding the new waste contract to a multinational waste giant when that seems to go against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Local Authorities Agreement.

Kerbside tea refreshes the parts other teas cannot reach...

From Paul Brannigan, Kerbside
Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Sita have confirmed they will never work with Kerbside on recycling collections and have therefore withdrawn any other offers.

The council have not responded.

I detest waste and I don't want to waste the offers of support from the many people who offer it.

I can facilitate the focussing of your ideas and support, but really need someone(s) to compile contact details of everyone who has been in touch and through that look for someone(s) to communicate with supporters. Sounds a bit sad, but I can't keep up with everything unless human cloning moves on apace!

From Martin S
Tuesday, 16 December 2008

I sent an email to the Calderdale chief executive, said that I have no intention of using the green box etc and have received a response to say it will be collected.

Maybe they'll eventually get the message.

From Andrew Hall
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Yes I've done the same. This is what I've sent:

"Dear Mr Williams

I am writing to express my concern at the Council's disregard of the work that Kerbside are putting in to recycling.

As you already know, Kerbside is a social enterprise helping local disadvantaged people. Sita, on the other hand, is a commercial French owned company.

It seems wasteful of our council tax that the Council continues to support Sita at a time when Kerbside are doing the same job and have so much support from the local community. This is not 'best value' and I believe that the council will ultimately be held to account for duplicating services. Even if Kerbside is more expensive, it is performing an important social task by employing people who would otherwise be on benefit.

The government are currently placing much emphasis on the importance of listening to communities. This is something that our Council is failing to do - I know of no consultation regarding the awarding of the recycling contract to Sita rather than Kerbside.

I will be interested to receive your reply as soon as possible, so that I can take this matter further.

On a more mundane note, could you please instruct Sita to remove their green box from my premises, details below."

From Martin S
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

My green box was collected by Calderdale today.

I helpfully pointed out that as a lot of people are unhappy at what Sita have done and many will want to return their green boxes, it may be a good idea for the council to designate 'collection points', in order to reduce the costs of collecting returned green boxes.

From Ian M
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I returned my green box to the recycling centre at Eastwood and was told by a man in the office "You can't leave that here, we have no facilities for dealing with them"

I pointed out that his company had left it on my property without permission and walked off leaving the box in his office.

Is the way forward to swamp the Eastwood site with unwanted boxes.

Also perhaps Kerbside should apply for investment on "Dragons Den". It would certainly raise their profile in the media!

From Graham Barker
Tuesday, 6 January 2009

t’s unlikely that any argument is now going to shift Calderdale MBC or Sita so the only practical way forward may be a concerted effort to deny Sita as much recycling as possible. I asked Kerbside if their business drop-off service for cardboard and some plastics can be extended to householders willing to deliver to Kerbside’s Luddendenfoot premises (Unit 11a, Station Rd Industrial Estate) and the answer is basically Yes.

Chris Mackins of Kerbside has asked me to point out only two qualifications:

  • If you're a business you must register with Kerbside.
  • The only plastics Kerbside can take are plastic bottles and carrier bags. (GB note: an advance on Sita’s Eastwood site, which doesn’t take carrier bags.)

It presumably also makes sense to minimise vehicle movements by delivering only worthwhile amounts, though plastic and cardboard can soon mount up. If enough of us start delivering to Luddendenfoot, it might make a significant difference to Sita’s precious targets.

It might also help if one or more Kerbside-dedicated collection points could be set up elsewhere. Any ideas, anyone?

See also

Hebweb News: Talks break down: Sita reject Kerbside
Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Hebweb News: Kerbside: the gloves are off
29th November 2008

Kerbside website

Hebweb Forum - Barbara Green's plea to write to Hazel Blears

Hebweb News:
Halifax demonstration, July 2008