Money-saving proposals for the Isle of Man’s waste services could see costs reduced by as much as £1.45m according to the Manx government’s Department of Infrastructure.
A report produced by the department, which considered both waste collection and disposal, criticises the current service, which it describes as fragmented with ineffective use of resources.
It also compares the costs of providing services in the Isle of Man with the cost of similar services in the UK and makes three alternative proposals to offer the services more cheaply and cost-effectively.
One option, the report says, is to create a single authority responsible for waste collection and disposal across the island, with household waste collection and disposal funded by local authorities. The report suggests this could save up to £1.45m.
The second proposal is to transfer all of the DoI responsibilities for waste to one or more local authorities, including all staff, contracts and services, again with household waste services funded by local authorities. This could save up to £1m.
The final option is to establish regional services which would allow sharing of resources across the island but would be monitored regionally. Total savings for this are estimated to be around £1.2m and could also provide a structure to devolve other services from central government in the future, such as traffic wardens and parish wardens, the report suggests.
The report is currently being considered and Onchan Commissioners’ chairman Rob Callister said he had requested an urgent meeting with Department of Infrastructure head of waste John Wrigley.
‘The commissioners have serious concerns about this document and what it is trying to achieve, Is it local authority reform by the back door?’ he said.
‘Waste collection is one of the core duties of a local authority, along with housing so we need to know the potential ramifications of this document.’
Currently waste disposal in the island costs £11m, 80 per cent of which is done via the incinerator. Rubbish collection and street cleaning costs around £4m per year and the cost of running recycling programmes and the regional rubbish tips is a further £1m.
The services are currently subsidised by government to the tune of £4.6m, without which each household would have to pay an extra £129.
The review by the DoI suggests rubbish collection in the island could be operated with just 12 bin lorries. Currently there are 29, with 17 in regular use, but they are often only four fifths full and in many cases could make more than one delivery in a day.
Bin collection in the island on average costs £70 per household per year but the DoI says this can be brought down to £43. An all-island contract for bin collection would save almost £1m per year.
Average yearly cost per household in the Isle of Man for street cleaning is £42, which is £6 more than in the UK, despite the greater incidence in the UK of graffiti, fly posting, fly tipping and littering.
‘The issues faced by the UK local authorities are not evident to the same degree in the Isle of Man and our cost base should reflect this,’ the report says. It suggests the same service could be provided for an average of £28 per household per year, saving almost £1m.