Kildare County Council announces end to refuse collection

KILDARE County Council has announced that the authority will get out of the domestic refuse collection business.

KILDARE County Council has announced that the authority will get out of the domestic refuse collection business.

In July 2010 of last year the Leinster Leader reported that the Council is losing E2.4 million from its waste collection service.

The latest move, which was announced at a County Council meeting yesterday afternoon, July 25, will take effect on August 22, and is expected to save E3.5 million.

The decision is an executive function and therefore it can be made by council officials without any input from councillors.

The council had employed consultants to advise them and on Wednesday last, July 20, an agreement was signed with AES, a subsidiary of Bord na Mona to provide the service.

AES is one of nine private companies operating in Kildare.

Speaking at the meeting, county manager Michael Malone said that the cost of the system was rising and unsustainable.

The waiver system will continue until the end of 2012 for those whom it applies to, but it is not known what will happen after that. At the moment, the number of waiver customers is greater than the number of paying customers.

AES has said it will be sympathetic to Tidy Towns groups, who have about 1600 bins around the county.

Many councillors spoke of their disappointment at the council meeting on Monday.

And many supported a call from Cllr. John McGinley that a Government national waiver levy be introduced to support people who can’t afford to pay refuse charges.

There was also a suggestion that landfill levies would be raised in order to force the private companies to provide their own waiver system.

Until now, Kildare County Council was one of the few remaining Councils to continue to provide such a system.

In recent years the Council has seen its customer base declining as private companies come into the market.

Council officials have said in the past that they are not taking any “ideological” position on the matter but that the administrative costs of its waiver scheme are very high.

In April, Kildare North TD, Catherine Murphy said there was a desperate need for a full appraisal of the waste disposal market due to the very worrying situation at Kerdiffstown Landfill along with the various costly inefficiencies in the present system.

She highlighted difficulties with a fully deregulated waste market where private operators “cherry pick” the areas they wish to work in such as towns in which there is a high density of users.

As a result the local authorities were forced to take up the slack in the more remote areas.  

Deputy Murphy said that private operators did not have to meet the cost of domestic refuse waivers and the cost of environmental cleanup operations once again falling on the taxpayer.  

“This ranges from the increases in illegal dumping that fall upon a combination of community organisation’s,  such as Tidy Town’s committee’s,  and  local authorities to be cleaned-up to the most drastic of scenarios that we see at the Kerdiffstown Landfill where the final cost to the state will be in the region of E30 million.”