...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Giles Davies, Labour councillor and Torfaen council’s Labour chief whip, has left the party over the wording of a survey sent to residents about black bin collection proposals.
The survey, which asked residents whether they would prefer to change their fortnightly black bin collections to three-weekly or monthly, is seen by Davies as producing responses that do not accurately reflect public opinion on the matter.
Consequently, he decided he could not continue in good conscience as a Labour councillor and will continue as an independent councillor for Abersychan.
The Black Bin Collection Proposal and Recycling Targets
Facing the threat of fines for missing high recycling targets, many local authorities across Wales have now adopted the practice of collecting black bins every three weeks.
Torfaen council is proposing to move to monthly collections for black bins to encourage recycling and cut costs.
Recycling bags would be collected once a week.
However, Davies is concerned that the proposed survey would force respondents to choose between three-weekly or monthly collections and could result in people feeling their opinions are not being heard.
Davies believes that something must be done to reduce landfill but wants to ensure that Torfaen council is enforcing waste collections properly before launching a consultation on black bin collections.
He argues that people feel they are being punished for recycling and believes that people should be given a real choice.
He is concerned that the survey would create the illusion that everyone agrees with three-weekly collections, putting words into people’s mouths.
He is also worried that people will start dumping their black bins in public areas.
The Consequences for Davies
Davies has given up a senior allowance of almost £9,000 as a result of leaving the Labour Party.
He will also lose his position as chair of the licensing committee, which comes with a senior salary of £8,793 on top of the £16,800 salary all councillors receive.
Although he may lose his seat at the next election, he felt that he had to take a stand because he was not representing the people he serves and their views.