The decision by Thanet council to charge for the collection of clinical waste has been ‘deferred indefinitely,’ says Cabinet member for Operational Services Cllr Rosanna Taylor-Smith.
The statement was made in response to one of three questions put forward at last night’s council meeting (April 12) by campaigner and creator of the Thanet Clinical Waste Protest Group facebook page, Claire Clark, campaigner Julie Norwood and Councillor Jenny Matterface.
The questions focused on the whether the charging proposal was fair, the health and safety implications if people decided to throw their sharps needles and other waste into their household rubbish and the money the scheme was predicted to raise.
Cllr Taylor-Smith said information originally given out by TDC saying waste could be disposed of in black bag collections was wrong.
Cllr Taylor-Smith said: “I would like to apologise on behalf of the council for the incorrect information sent out to some residents. This happened before I became a Cabinet member.
“I want to reiterate that needles and other clinical waste should never be placed in household bin collections.”
The decision was announced during Thanet council’s previous UKIP administration which ended on March 1 following the resignation of the role by then-leader Chris Wells.
Conservative Bob Bayford was voted in as the new leader, heading up a minority Tory administration.
Cllr Taylor-Smith said following “upset and confusion” a full review had been launched which would include discussions with service users, councillors and health groups.
She added: “We at TDC listened to recent feedback from users of clinical waste collections who are directly affected. We are deferring indefinitely the implementation of charges until we have undertaken a wider review.”
Free clinical waste collections will continue while the review is carried out.
Cllr Taylor-Smith said she expected that to conclude in “the next few months.”
The charging scheme, which was expected to generate an income of £60,000, was also criticised by Thanet council’s new leader Bob Bayford.
He said: “One of the first issues we had to deal with as a new administration was the upset caused by the charges for clinical waste collection.
“In my opinion this was not a good decision and was aggravated by poor implementation.”
He said his administration would carry out consultation with residents before implementing such schemes.
The decision to charge, which would apply to yellow or orange sacks and sharps boxes, was made in December when new fees and charges were agreed for the 2018/19 financial year as part of the council budget.
In a letter sent to people who use the service, Thanet council said although the service was previously free it had been necessary to ‘revisit’ the issue of charging.
A wave of protest followed from residents, members of the newly created protest page and Labour councillors who called for an urgent review.
Thanet council buckled under the protest and put back the charging proposals, originally due to start on April 1, to carry out a ‘wider review.’
Ms Clarke (pictured above) has launched a petition in protest at the proposal which can be signed here
£214.13 per year for providing and collecting clinical sacks
£6.71 per collection for provision and collection of a 11.5 litre sharps container
£8.49 for provision and collection of 22 litre sharps container.