Crawley Borough Council’s Environment portfolio includes many of the services with the greatest day-to-day impact on the quality of life of all Crawley’s residents and visitors to our town. As the newly appointed Environment Cabinet Member I understand very well the responsibility that comes with providing such important services as: waste collection, recycling, grass cutting, street cleansing and environmental health.
During the last few weeks since the election which returned the council to Labour, I have prioritised looking with officers of the council at service areas where feedback from residents and their councillors has pin pointed signs of problems.
It was very clear by late May that grass growth in some areas was getting seriously out of hand. Weather conditions aside there seems no doubt that this was in large part the result of the big reduction in the number of grass cuts each year between March/April and September/October by the previous Conservative council. I requested officers look at ways of staying on top of grass cutting for the rest of the summer as an urgent priority and would like to thank the council’s dedicated grass cutting teams for going the extra mile. For the future we are looking at how we can increase the number of grass cuts in the year to a more realistic level.
As many of you will know through direct experience in recent weeks, major changes to the waste collection and recycling service are being made. These changes and the plan for introducing them over several months were already in the pipeline having been signed off by the previous Conservative cabinet. I am very conscious of how vital it is that the changes are implemented smoothly with minimum disruption to residents. Worryingly during the last few weeks there have been times when this did not seem to be the case. I have ensured that the council’s refuse contractor and officers of the council are in no doubt about the absolute priority I and my colleagues give to introducing the service changes efficiently. I believe this clear sense of direction from the new Labour majority at the council will provide fresh drive to help get the task done.
For the future, I then want to make sure that all of us can make maximum use of the new service to boost recycling to higher levels. We have also made a key commitment to maintain the weekly collection of refuse. It is early days and there will be much to do – but through it all Labour’s watch words will be responsiveness to residents in striving to provide high quality services.
Cllr for Tilgate
Environment Cabinet Member